Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S03E18 – Earshot

In the eighteenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy acquires the power to read minds after killing a demon, and then everything is weird? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.

So let me first state that I did like “Earshot” a lot before it seems that I’m ragging on this episode in a way that might make it appear that I didn’t like it. Truthfully, there’s a lot to like about it, but it’s just…weird? I am having difficulty trying to parse my own feelings for this story, but something just felt off about it.

I think that it feels like there are two competing tones that exist in “Earshot.” There’s a story about the pain and terror of growing up as a teenager and how we all never really know what other people are truly going through. This is done extremely well and with a lot of respect for the idea. At the same time, this episode is about how immensely funny it is that Buffy can read the thoughts of her friends. I don’t think these are necessarily mutually exclusive plots and, largely, I think “Earshot” works. But at times I felt the humor was slightly misplaced, or that the serious nature of some of the themes felt alien in the story. These were brief sensations, and I fully admit that this is probably just me. This is a good episode! I’m just weird about these things sometimes.

There’s a great set-up to the reveal that Buffy can read minds, and I think this episode utilized that tension well. We are inundated with the fear that exposure to the demon’s blood will transform Buffy physically, so it’s kind of a pleasant surprise when we see that the transformation is mental. Well, I mean it’s not ultimately pleasant! But I had no way of knowing that. For a good portion of the introduction of Buffy’s new power, this episode is pretty damn funny. I fully expected that the story would explore the darker sides of such an ability, so I just enjoyed all the moments before that. That’s what is so realistic about this. Who wouldn’t use mind-reading powers like Buffy? Seriously, I would initially be excited about it myself, too. Buffy’s powers aren’t that strong during the beginning, so it’s easier to block out thoughts and only focus on the ones she wants. It’s an advantage in these early stages, and Buffy uses it as one to get attention in class and learn a great deal of gossip in the process.

I do keep telling myself it’ll never happen again, but I’m sorry, I have to do it: HOW DID STEPHENIE MEYER NOT GET THE MIND-READING IDEA FROM THIS EPISODE. The entire scene with Angel just made me think of Edward’s ridiculous and creepy mind-reading ability and the fact that he couldn’t read Bella’s mind. ONLY THIS IS EXECUTED A BILLION TIMES BETTER. I mean, the whole scene is an impetus for Angel to be honest with Buffy about his feelings for her. It’s romantic and sweet and not UNBEARABLY CREEPY like that wretched Twilight series. Oh god, am I going to start shipping Angel/Buffy? I CAN’T TAKE ON ANY MORE SHIPS IN MY HEAD.

At this point in “Earshot,” the story begins to expand on the theme of personal privacy, as well as explore the negative ramifications of Buffy’s powers, which are getting much stronger. Here, I think that the mixture between humor and drama is done quite effectively, and it’s only later in the story that I started feeling weird about how this was pulled off. It’s clear that Buffy’s powers can easily be a detriment to everyone else. While Cordelia, Oz, and Wesley’s thoughts are played for humor, Willow and Xander are far more concerned about how mind-reading affects them. Xander, unsurprisingly, is frightened that his frequent dirty thoughts and fantasies will no longer be a secret anymore. And seriously, dude has every right to worry about that. Willow, on the other hand, is less concerned about Buffy reading her mind, and more upset that Buffy can read Oz’s mind. It’s actually a perspective I never would have considered had the show not brought it up. I know that I certainly have wanted to know the thoughts of someone I like or am dating, especially when that person is kind of shy or closed-off. Nearly everyone I’ve ever dated has been like this, strangely. So Willow experiences jealousy towards Buffy, and I kind of completely understand why she would feel that way.

When her meeting with the Scoobies turns into a bit of a disaster, Buffy then starts to experience the full onslaught of her mind-reading ability. Damn, that scene in the lunchroom is done so well. I like that as her powers increase, she’s able to access much deeper, subconscious thoughts instead of the immediate things people are thinking. What this exposes is the current of negativity that runs through Sunnydale. People doubt themselves. They hate others. They hate their lives. They worry about every social pressure imaginable. And I think that’s the brilliance of the way this scene is executed: no one truly knows just how much other people are suffering. This very realization overwhelms and destroys Buffy, not just on a physical level. She’s so shocked to be exposed to all of this that when she hears the voice, the one that threatens to kill the whole school, it’s just too much for her.

This is also the point that I started to wonder when this episode aired. I knew it had to be before 2000, but the fact that Buffy was tackling the issue of school shootings meant that it had to come at a specific time. That’s when I learned that all of you who watched this in real time didn’t actually get to see the episode for two months after the finale. WELL WHAT. Yeah, so it turns out this was scheduled to air just a week after Columbine happened? Well, that’s really unfortunate timing, isn’t it? Obviously, the writers and actors and crew had no goddamn clue that this was going to happen, so I’m not blaming them at all. But it brings about an interesting issue of what’s too soon to talk about. I imagine that while the images of a student with a gun certainly might have seemed insensitive, the show wasn’t really commenting on Columbine at all.

I remembered how after 9/11, there was that radio blacklist handed out (allegedly) by Clear Channel to all their stations, ordering them not to play songs in the wake of that terrorist attack. It was one of those things that truly just offended me, that made me feel like my delicate sensibilities were shattered. See, I understand being respectful and courteous after such a horrific tragedy. I get that. I get not wanting to trigger people. I do not get banning Alien Ant Farm’s cover of “Smooth Criminal,” but not the original version. I do not understand how “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas would upset ANYONE EVER. Half the list seemed to focus on title alone. If it had some visual or diction-specific reference to 9/11, it was banned. THEY BANNED “KILLER QUEEN.” WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?

I don’t think postponing “Earshot” is the same, for the record. This was a single case. I get it. But these sort of things always felt so presumptive to me. On the day before my father died at the end of August in 2006, I saw Little Miss Sunshine. If you’ve seen that movie, you can imagine why I now have a very emotional attachment to that film. It helped me cope. When these sort of bannings or delays happen, it always makes me feel like someone else is telling me that I don’t know how to deal with life. It feels like a decision has been made for me without consulting me at all. Wouldn’t it have been better to air a message before the episode to warn of its content and explain that the whole thing was made long before Columbine happened? Networks don’t usually work like that, though.

You know, this might also be the reason I felt some of the tones clashed. The show does do a good job of mixing humor and fear, and a great example of that is when Buffy gets taken home to deal with her ever increasing powers and discovers that her mother had sex with Giles. Twice. ON THE HOOD OF A POLICE CAR. Oh my god OH MY GOD. I knew something was weird between the two. And it’s just after this that we get the BEAUTIFUL interrogation montage, which includes Willow grilling Jonathan again. This is good! It’s witty and hilarious and just everything I love about this show.

But then it’s about someone at school who’s going to murder anyone? So I sort of feel like the jokes should have stopped somewhere after this, perhaps when they discover that Freddy isn’t the killer. (Bless Oz, by the way, for his calm reaction to Freddy’s review. I mean, Oz did admit in “DopplegΓ€ngland” that his band barely uses three chords. Though I wish that meant they sounded like the Ramones.) I think that the reveal that Jonathan is the one planning to do something drastic makes his interrogation scene seem really strange in hindsight. Like, it was clearly played as a joke, but then we find out it’s not? At the same time, that could have also been a very direct commentary on the fact that Jonathan was so ignored by people that even Willow couldn’t see how much pain he was in.

And I really do love what Buffy tells the guy up in the clock tower. She doesn’t disagree with him or invalidate how awful he feels; she explains that everyone else is also caught up in a lot of the same sense of invalidation, loneliness, and fear. It’s not that everyone is the same as Jonathan. It’s that each of these people feels they are coping with something bigger and more terrible than everyone around them. And that sort of perspective is really rare to come to know! I know that I had a really hard time in public school, and I came to find out after I graduated that people I thought were well-adjusted and happy were far from it.

So I think that my love for that scene was just distracted by the last minute twist of having the lunch lady be the actual killer. I don’t that it’s played seriously at all, so it felt weird? I also enjoyed the joke at the very end of the episode when Buffy scolds Giles for having sex with her mother, but it still felt odd to end such a seriously-themed story with a joke.

I know this is just my taste. It’s not an objective analysis of “Earshot.” I sort of had a similar experience with both parts of the Deathly Hallows movie. I wanted a dark and HIGHLY SERIOUS FILM, and I felt the humor was distracting. But I know plenty of people who welcomed the jokes because it broke up the tension for them. And that’s a completely valid reading of the movie! So this isn’t a complaint about something done wrong. It’s just my subjective taste, and it’s certainly not enough to make me dislike “Earshot.” This continues a line of FANTASTIC episodes in season three. God, how is this season even real???

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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438 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S03E18 – Earshot

  1. Xander and Sex

    I wonder if she and Wesley have kissed.

    Ms. Murray's kinda hot.

    What am I gonna do? I think about sex all the time! Sex! Help! 4 times 5 is 30. 5 times 6 is 32. Naked girls. Naked women! Naked Buffy! Oh stop me!

    Willow and Insecurity

    She's hardly even human anymore. How can I be her friend now? She doesn't need me.

    She knows so much. She knows what Oz is thinking. I never know that. Before long, she'll know him better than I do.

    Oz and Existentialism

    I am my thoughts. If they exist in her, Buffy contains everything that is me and she becomes me. I cease to exist.

    No one else exists either. Buffy is all of us. We think. Therefore, she is.

    Cordelia and Self-Involvement

    I don't see what this has to do with me.

    Whatever. I wonder when I can go.

    I'm cold.

    I'm not getting any warmer.

    Angel and Vampirism


    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I have to admit, for a few minutes I thought Angel just…didn't have any thoughts. He's that boring.

    • cemeterybaby says:

      Oz's inner monologue, capped off with a simple "Huh" spoken aloud, is THE BEST.

      • UnstrungZero says:

        I adore Oz, I wish there was more of him! He gets less character development than Willow or Xander, or sometimes even Cordelia. Naq gura ur trgf na njrfbzr rcvfbqr naq YRNIRF. >.<

    • Avit says:

      Not existentialism, really. Philosophical faffery that… probably has a name but I don't know it so whatever :')

    • Noybusiness says:

      The funny thing is that what Cordelia says is almost exactly what she thinks.

      • redheadedgirl says:

        It's almost like in Firefly, when Evire vf ernqvat rirelbar'f zvaq, naq rirelbar vf gur pbzcyrgr bccbfvgr bs jung gurl fubj- rkprcg sbe Xnlyrr. Orpnhfr Xnlyrr vf rirelguvat fur vf ba gur fhesnpr.

        And Cordy is just all, "tact is just not saying true stuff."

      • ZeynepD says:

        And of course that's entirely intentional on the part of the writers.

    • etherealclarity says:

      My favorite parts of this are Oz and Cordelia.

      Oz – because I just love his thoughts.

      Cordelia – because SHE SAYS EXACTLY WHAT SHE THINKS. (Anyone recall a conversation about tact last season?)

      • @Ivana2804 says:

        Except when she's around rich frat boys she wants to date, or jocks or – earlier – her Cordettes. I doubt that she told them that she knew they were too busy agreeing with her to know who she really is. She didn't tell Harmony she was a sheep until Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. She also didn't tell Snyder what she thought about him to his face. And obviously, she kept her relationship with Xander secret for a while so she wouldn't lose her status in school. Cordelia's sincerity is selective, and depends on whether she has something to lose by speaking the truth.

        • SosaLola says:

          I agree. Cordelia is honest at times, but not always. Her whole friendship with the Cordettes was fake and not honest at all. The way she flirts with boys. Keeping her relationship with Xander a secret. She can be honest when it doesn't affect her but when it affects her, she either makes up lies or keep it to herself.

    • LadyViridis says:

      I loved Cordelia. I wonder when I can go. "Seriously, can I go now?"

      Also Oz. Everyone else is panicking and he goes into this deep philosophical thing. Awesome.

    • NB2000 says:

      ROFL at your description of Angels' thoughts, or lack of.

    • sirintegra42 says:

      I don't know how I didn't realise until today that Xander's maths is completely wrong. It just highlights how much he's panicking :).

      Uvf znguf zhfg trg orggre yngre va gur frevrf gubhtu nf V pna vzntvar lbh'q unir gb xabj ng yrnfg gur onfvpf gb jbex va pbafgehpgvba, rfcrpvnyyl jbexvat jvgu ohvyqvat cynaf naq guvatf.

      Oz's thoughts are my favourites though.

      • cait0716 says:

        Gurer'f qrsvavgryl n qvssrerapr orgjrra nevguzrgvp/nytroen naq trbzrgel/gevtbabzrgel. Zbfg crbcyr graq gb or orggre ng bar be gur bgure. Fb V pna ohl Knaqre snvyvat ng nevguzrgvp naq fhpprrqvat jvgu gevt. Ur'f yrff bs na nofgenpg guvaxre.

        • sirintegra42 says:

          Gung znxrf frafr gb zr. Cyhf gurer ner crbcyr jub qb greevoyl ng vg ng fpubby ohg vg pyvpxf yngre va yvsr jura vg npghnyyl orpbzrf hfrshy sbe gurz be gurl unir n orggre grnpure. V nyjnlf yvxr gung ur unq fhpu n erfcbafvoyr wbo, vg fubjrq ubj zhpu ur terj hc bire gur pbhefr bs gur fubj. Gurl ernyyl qvq arrq fbzrbar jub pbhyq svk jvaqbjf naljnl :).

    • Smurphy says:

      Thank you for this.

    • MMT says:

      Cordy's thoughts are my favorite thing in this episode. Bless you Jane Espenson.

    • Taken literally, Angel's explanation of being un-readable is just waffle. But if you think (my own pet theory) that the invisibility-in-mirrors thing is an illusion (they have reflections but an unconscious psychic energy keeps anyone from seeing it) then that could be stretched to cover this.

  2. enigmaticagentscully says:


    Oh god, I had to pause the episode to have a brief fit of hysterics. It wasn’t even that brief.

    I’m gonna have to add this to the List Of Random Little Things, Quotes, References And Moments That Are The Best Things Ever In Buffy According To Alice. Henceforth known as ‘The List of Things’. To go on ’The List of Things’, the Thing in question has to be something (be it funny, dramatic or adorable) that has little or no importance to the greater plot but makes me really happy anyway.
    So far we have…

    -Giles hugging Willow in ‘Doppleganged’
    -The above quote.
    -Actually, I’m going to retrospectively add Jenny taking Giles on a date to a Monster Truck Rally, because that was a random moment that pleased me an inordinate amount too.

    So kids! What would you put on your List of Things?

    • hpfish13 says:

      In a related not to your first one, Joyce giving Spike hot chocolate in Lover's Walk and him asking for those "little marshmallows."

      I think many of my favorite things might be to come! Its been a while since I've watched, so I'm not sure….

    • cait0716 says:

      Hooray for the List of Things!

      Mine also includes Willow and Oz's conversation about animal crackers.

    • Noybusiness says:

      "-Actually, I’m going to retrospectively add Jenny taking Giles on a date to a Monster Truck Rally"

      Miss the nitro-burning funny cars? Couldn't have that.

    • Delta1212 says:

      From this episode: Buffy repeatedly shouting “Infected?!” at Giles while he isn’t paying attention to her. I don’t know what it is about the delivery, but my grin gets wider with each repetition.

    • Kickpuncher says:

      Most of the things already said. Giles begging Buffy to hit Ethan Rayne. The comics talk between Mayor Wilkins, Mr. Trick and Alan. Anya trying to buy a beer. Everything involving Natry naq “Znaql.”

    • SteveP says:

      Definately, Willow as VampWillow giving a little wave to Oz.

      VampWillow's "Bored now".

      Giles walking into the tree.

      Wesley shrieking like a girl

      Er … pretty much everything else! But I'll have a think and try to be more specifc.

    • Polgara says:

      Joyce and Spike sitting in awkward silence in the living room in "Becoming Part 2".

    • DreamRose311 says:

      My List… is too long to come up with right now. I'll try to come up with it over the weekend.

      I feel like it needs to be things I can come up with without recently seeing the episode, so I'd love to include the "Infected" bit that someone else noted… but… I won't.

      I do have to include the "If you're not to busy having Sex With MY MOTHER" and then Tree + Giles. The quote is in the same vein as the "Infected" bit… SMG's gradual change in tone mid sentence is just…magic. So wonderful. And Giles is just so entranced that… tree. So much wonderful

    • Jordan says:

      Anything Principal Snyder does or says in "Band Candy"

    • sirintegra42 says:

      Well lots of mine haven't happened yet but I love…
      – 'I'm a bloodsucking fiend, look at my outfit!'
      – Jenny's 'call me Jenny, Ms. Calendar is my father', which has the addition of being even more hilarious once you know that's not even her real name.
      – Any moment with Giles being snarky towards Wesley.
      – Spike's 'I may be love's bitch' speech from Lovers Walk.

      I'll probably think of loads more later but that seems like a good start.

    • Seventh_Star says:

      i still haven't managed to come up with my top 10 favorite episodes, so there is no way on earth i could make a list like this. but it's fun to read yours and everyone else's!

    • MochaMooo says:

      In addition to the already-mentioned Spike and Joyce moments:
      -Giles and Jenny bonding over their contempt for American football (because as someone who was on dance team in high school, I had to go to EVERY SINGLE GAME and I feel the EXACT SAME WAY about that sport)
      -Oz's distinctions between gatherings, shindigs, and hootenannies
      -Joyce hitting Spike with a fire ax
      -The Mayor dissecting his loose cannon/rock the boat mixed metaphor
      -Va "Fbzrguvat Oyhr", cerggl zhpu rirelguvat nobhg Fcvxr naq Ohssl'f jrqqvat cynaavat, phyzvangvat jvgu Fcvxr fnlvat Ohssl jnagrq "Jvaq Orarngu Zl Jvatf" nf gur svefg qnapr fbat. V ynhturq sbe yvxr na ubhe jura V svefg jngpurq gung.

    • RocketDarkness says:

      Spike: It's a big rock. I can't wait to tell my friends. They don't have a rock this big.

      [youtube JONVeJHKzc0 youtube]

    • settlingforhistory says:

      Ok, apart from the things already mentioned:

      -Xander in The Zeppo "Don't you feel pathetic?” “Mostly I feel Katie.“
      -Buffy trying to explain her diary entries to Angel "A stands for Achmet"
      -Kendra naming her stake Mr. Pointy
      -every scene with Spike and Joyce
      -Spike taunting Angel behind Joyce's back
      -Giles and the tree
      -Willow's resolve face

      Things in later seasons/the spin-off:

      -gur gehr ernfba jul Fcvxr vf pnyyrq "Jvyyvnz gur oybbql"
      -rirelgvzr Natry unf gb fvat
      -Natry qnapvat
      -Jvyyvnz synfuonpxf
      -Fcvxr ybbxvat guebhtu n jvaqbj ng inzcverf srrqvat ba gunaxftvivat
      -Fcvxr chapuvat Gnen gb cebbs fur vf uhzna
      -Fcvxr cresbezvat uvf cbrz ba fgntr naq gung crbcyr ybir vg

      And about thousand others, but these are some of my favourites

      • cait0716 says:

        And about thousand others, but these are some of my favourites

        Yeah, I've got at least one or two per episode. There's always something I'm looking forward to

      • For me:

        Xnenbxr. Nyy bs vg. Rirel gvzr.

      • GirlWith1Eye says:

        va nqqvgvba gb nyy bs gurfr:

        -Jrfyrl gevccvat qbja gur fgnvef naq gur fjbeq pbagencgvba tbvat bss enaqbzyl jura gurl nyy ybfr gurve zrzbevrf jura gurl'er gelvat gb ergevrir pbeqryvn'f…gung jubyr rcvfbqr ernyyl unf fb znal terng pbzrqvp zbzragf
        -nobhg n ovyyvba fcvxr dhbgrf, rfcrpvnyyl: "n orne! lbh znqr n orne! haqb vg! haqb vg!," uvf jubyr zbabybthr znxvat sha bs natry jura ur'f ba gur ebbs, fcvxr jnyxvat vagb gur qbbe bs natry'f bssvpr, fcvxr naq chccrg!natry svtugvat
        -fb znal zbzragf va gnohyn enfn
        -fcvxr fjvatvat ba gur fjvatfrg va erfgyrff
        -naln'f ohaal srne
        -fcvxr chapuvat gnen gb cebir fur'f uhzna

        gur guvatf ba zl yvfg ner gbb ahzrebhf gb rira jevgr nyy qbja, gb or ubarfg

    • @redbeardjim says:

      Spike's reminiscing about Woodstock and the "flower person".

    • sudden_eyes says:

      Gurfr ner nyy dhbgrf (V nqber gur jevgvat bs guvf fubj, jura V'z abg jnagvat gb xvyy gur jevgref):

      Naln fnlvat: "Vg'f cbffvoyr gung ur'f va gur ynaq bs crecrghny Jrqarfqnl … be gur penml zrygl ynaq … be, lbh xabj, gur jbeyq jvgubhg fuevzc."

      Fcvxr va Ohssl'f sebag lneq: "V jnfa'g yhexvat. V jnf fgnaqvat nobhg. Vg'f n jubyr qvssrerag ivor."

      Fcvxr va Ohssl'f sebag lneq, ntnva: "Bu, lrnu. Bxnl, yrg zr thrff… lbh jba'g xvyy zr? Jbbb… gur jubyr pebjq-cyrnfvat guerngf-naq-fjnttre ebhgvar. Ubj fghaavatyl bevtvany. Lbh xabj, V'z whfg cnffvat guebhtu. Fngvfsvrq? Lbh xabj, V ernyyl ubcr fb orpnhfr Tbq xabjf lbh arrq fbzr fngvfsnpgvba va yvsr orfvqrf funttvat Pncgnva Pneqobneq naq V arire ernyyl yvxrq lbh naljnl naq… naq lbh unir fghcvq unve."

      "Gurl tbg gur zhfgneq bhg!"

      Gnen: "V tb bayvar fbzrgvzrf, ohg … rirelbar'f fcryyvat vf ernyyl onq, naq vg'f … qrcerffvat.

    • Dru says:

      My LIST OF THINGS, it contains the following:

      – "blah blah blah, I'm so stuffy, give me a scone."
      – "I'm Buffy, and you're history!" (so cheesy, but I LOVE IT)
      – Joyce whacking Spike in the head with an axe.
      – Spike returning to Sunnydale and getting comforted by Joyce (while he trolls Angel on the side, I LIKE HIM FOR THIS).
      – all Spike/Joyce interactions in general. I love how she kind of ends up playing mom to him.
      – The funny old man who got stuck in Drusilla's teeth.
      – Oz, on waking up naked and alone as a new werewolf: "Huh."

      • aphasia says:

        Seriously at least something from every episode I think, but right now the most?

        "Qnza vg, zna, jr unir gb trg vafvqr.Bhe snzvyvrf ner va gurer. Bhe, hz, zbguref naq-naq gval, gval onovrf," jnivat unaqf jvyqyl…

        naq, jryy lrnu, nyzbfg nyy bs Fbzrguvat Oyhr ohg ng guvf zbzrag, "pna V or oyvaq gbb?"

        naq gur pynffvp "orne! lbh znqr n orne!" nf jryy nf gur rkcerffvba ba Fcvxr'f snpr jura ur'f gnhagvat Natry ol guerngravat Wblpr. Pbzvpny Fcvxr xvyyf zr rirel gvzr.

    • notemily says:

      "I may be a cold-blooded jelly doughnut, but my timing is impeccable."

  3. Kickpuncher says:

    Thoughts on Earshot:

    -Wesley, you silly ass.

    -“Is it a boy demon?” hahaha holy shit.

    -Angel be creepin’

    -Oz, making an expression? Xander, there is a limit on what sort of impossible things I will believe happen in Sunnydale.

    -Reading minds? I can buy it.

    -“How hard could it be? French babies learn it!”

    -Principal Snyder has Walk Like An Egyptian stuck in his head. Best character.

    -Freddy Iverson for the school paper, you are SO EDGY. KEEP SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER.

    -A Buffy/Angel scene? That I’m kind of enjoying? JANE ESPENSON, WHAT MAGIC ARE YOU WORKING?

    -aaaaaand the magic is gone.

    -“in 243 years I’ve loved exactly one person.” (Oneel Znavybj.)

    -Best Oz moment.

    -Wesley/Cordelia yessssssss


    -Goddamn. This shit is real.

    -“You had sex with Giles?” Ahahahahahaha

    -Willow/Jonathan/Interrogation OT3

    -“Were you planning to kill a bunch of people tomorrow? It’s for the yearbook.” Cordelia ilu

    -No one knows what it’s like to be the sad WBANGUNA. To be the bad WBANGUNA. Behind blue eyes.

    -Nice parkour Buffy.

    -Wbanguna, why are you doing this?

    -“Everybody Hurts” – R.E.M.

    -Xander saves the day!

    -“If you’re not too busy having sex with MY MOTHER.”

  4. enigmaticagentscully says:

    But onto the main point of the episode:

    Oh Jonathan.

    Actually, what I loved about this episode is that they took something which could have been a simple comic relief-y type premise and used it to say something…really quite profound?
    I mean, they could so easily have just had the one plotline of Buffy being overcome by her new mind-reading powers. That was plot enough! It was both entertaining and dramatic! But throwing in the sub-plot about the murderer at school was a great way to lead up to the scene in the clocktower with Jonathan, and Buffy’s whole speech which was fantastic.

    I was worried that Buffy might be going down the ‘get over yourself’ route when talking to Jonathan, but instead of dismissing his feelings, she does the best possible thing – telling him that other people feel the same way. It doesn’t make his problems any less legitimate, but it lets him know that he isn’t alone. The way she speaks to him isn’t patronising or angry, but sympathetic. What he’s doing is understandable, but it’s wrong. It’s not the answer. Of course, she only finds out afterwards that he’s actually planning to kill himself rather than other people, but the point still stands.

    The idea that Buffy’s mind reading powers actually gave her an insight into the people around her – not just people she knew, but people in general was lovely. The reality that everyone goes through difficult times and has problems, and it doesn’t matter how unimportant they might seem to others because in the end it’s how it makes you feel that matters. It’s hard being Jonathan. It’s hard being the Slayer.
    It’s hard being a person.

    You know, the more I think about this episode, the more I realise it’s probably one of my favourites so far. It’s got a great mix of humour, (how fabulous was the scene where Xander stumbles across the murderous Dinner Lady Death Jello and flips out?), drama (Buffy nearly loses her mind and Angel actually kicks ass for once), and characterisation (Oz is apparently really deep, and Cordy just says whatever is on her mind).

    I really really enjoyed this one!

    • Cordy just says whatever is on her mind
      Tact is just not saying true stuff. She'll pass.

      It’s hard being a person.
      It ain't easy being whiiiiiite.

    • LucyGoosey says:

      I think one of the reasons Jonathan's story worked so well for me is he ISN'T a one episode character brought in just for this purpose- he's been a minor background character since season 2, and I bet there were a lot of fans who never gave him a second glance

      • cait0716 says:

        Seriously. The first time I realized that he started showing up in early season 2 was mind blowing. He's been there all along, getting held hostage and ignored. Poor Jonathan.

      • Danny was also in the Unaired Pilot, although I don't think his character was named or had lines. Not in S-1 but since then. It's the simple thing that many dramas leave out completely (whereas some sitcoms do it well, others badly) that to some extent anybody, the Scoobs included, sees many of the same people day in, day out. Jonathan, Amy, Harmony, Larry; I always wish Theresa from "Phases" had had a longer arc -as the Gang's not-in-the-know "normal" friend, perhaps even taken Laura's place in "Nightmares."

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      I thought the scene was written well, but that was completely undermined by the sheer ridiculousness of Jonathan planning to kill himself with a sniper rifle in a clock tower. I actually kind of wish Buffy had burst in right when he was about to do it, so we could see just how hard it would be to shoot yourself with that giant gun. If you're going to do this kind of fake-out, the real explanation needs to make sense on its own terms, and this really doesn't.

      • cait0716 says:

        It's possible that that's the only kind of gun that he had access to and that he hadn't thought this out any more than the writers.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        I assumed it was the only gun he could get a hold of. I mean, where did he even get it?

        • sirintegra42 says:

          From his grandfather's arsenal of course! (Sorry, I have Eddie Izzard on the brain as always.) Actually that part fits with this discussion pretty well so I shall use the excuse to embed it here.
          [youtube KsN0FCXw914 youtube]

        • Elyssa says:

          I honestly think (with my attuned conspiracy theorist senses) that he might have been originally supposed to have the intent of shooting people at the school… the people he thought were bullies, snobs, ect. before shooting himself with another weapon or possibly cop suiciding. And (possibly) the episode didn't have the lunchlady tacked-on ending until AFTER the Columbine thing; that's why they had to wait so long to air it originally. After the real life shooting, they could have edited some stuff out, changed a couple of shots in post for the tower scene, had Jonathan and Buffy film one or two new lines, and filmed a "new twist" so it wouldn't be so triggery.

          Of course this is all coming from my addled brain… who knows!

          • Rayne says:

            Heh, no. The lunch lady thing was always planned. Xander even has a joking line about the lunch lady trying to kill everyone early in the episode.

      • Bricker501 says:

        I agree. You can also add that Jonathan takes the time to screw on the scope to the rifle.

        • Avit says:

          ….it was the only gun he could get his hands on so he was going to try and figure out how to aim the rebound?
          ….he's seen too many movies with sniper rifles in and they're the only kind of gun he knows, even vaguely, how to use?
          ….he comes from a FAMILY of snipers, and they're the only kind of gun he knows how to use??

        • Hanna_the_Glam says:

          Screwing on the scope of a rifle is even wilder than screwing on the hood of a police car. And less comfortable (I imagine).

      • snapsnzips says:

        I always consciously but willingly suspend my disbelief at this point because I love all parts of this episode. But you're totally right.

      • MochaMooo says:

        Maybe someone in his family uses one…to…uh…hunt with? And maybe he subconsciously didn't want to actually go through with it so he didn't plan for if the rifle didn't work? …no, you're right, the writers should probably have thought that scene through a little more.

      • UnstrungZero says:

        I had similar thoughts, I went "Who kills themself with a rifle??" And then remembered it was just Kurt Cobain's birthday. So. πŸ™

        • sirintegra42 says:

          I was thinking that too :(. It's part of why there are so many conspiracy theories surrounding it I think, because some people don't believe he could actually do it with something like that. It's not something I like to dwell on too much personally *shudder*.

    • Abygail says:

      What I most liked about Cordy, is that she actually starts her sentences BEFORE she's done thinking them πŸ˜› With all the others, they mostly only talk after they thought it, but Cordy just says it during the thinking πŸ™‚

    • @Katiface says:

      "ohg vg’f jebat."

      Nyy V pna guvax bs vf Snvgu nf Ohssl abj!

  5. @geo_hof says:

    First of all let me say this is one of my favorite episodes. I was sooo mad the week this was supposed to air. That Tuesday all we got was a repeat of “Enemies” with the disclaimer that saying that due to the nature of the episode it was going to be aired at a later date and that next week there was going to be a new episode. WHAT!! The episode was skipped over and they rapped up the last of the season 3. They didn’t show this episode until the middle/end of summer or something. Why you ask? It was already filmed and ready to go but its air date was the week after the Columbine High School Massacre. The WB thought, out of respect, it would be more appropriate if the episode were postponed. I remember hearing later that Sarah Michael Gellar was mad that they pulled the episode because of the importance of its overall message. I was only in the 5th grade but I remember the news the reports the day of Columbine. It was so sickening to think of what happened to those kids. With some of the dialogue especially from Xander and Cordelia I understood that might have been a good thing to postpone it. School is hard; teenagers can be mean as all hell and it is easy to feel like everyone else has life all figured out. It's so easy for them, something I often thought through out school really goes back to that whole grass is always greener on the other side of the fence thing. I have always thought that Buffy was a show that was always so current and sometimes ahead of its time. Now that some time has passed I believe that these stories are really timeless, though sometimes the outfits are a little funny.

    One of my favorite things about Buffy is that they always make these references to things form the past that you probably thought were going to stay there. Sometimes are subtle and some times not so subtle and that brings me to my favorite lines from “Earshot”

    Buffy: “you had sex with Giles!?”
    Buffy: “you had sex with Giles!!!?”
    Joyce: “It was the candy…we were teenagers…”
    Buffy: “On the hood of a police car!?”
    Buffy: “Twice!!!!?”

    • cait0716 says:

      This episode ended up airing the week before season 4 started airing. It was a really frustrating summer.

      But I absolutely understand postponing it, though I'm probably biased by having been so close to Columbine. I knew people who were there. Even though I was only in middle school, it changed my world. We were still reeling from it a week later and I'm not sure I could have handled this episode then. (Much like I made the mistake of watching Independence Day a week after 9/11 and haven't been able to watch it since)

  6. settlingforhistory says:

    Wow, so many funny moments in this episode and one really serious scene.
    It’s so sad that Wbanguna wants to take his life, when we all laughed at all the monsters and demons that somehow attacked him first. At least they were not ignoring him.
    Interesting how different the two students who felt ignored dealt with it; Marcy turned invincible and vengeful, poor Wbanguna just wanted it to end. So sad, but unfortunately quite realistic.

    Now to less depressing stuff:

    The Scoobies are so clueless on the topic of the Ascension and both Giles and Wesley are grasping at straws.

    I love Giles’ schadenfreude at Wesley’s and the Council’s failure to get more information on it than he had himself.
    “The demon Azorath.” It’s as if Wesley had said “Well, we know it’s not leprechauns.”

    Sunnydale has a school paper and like anything else in this town it’s completely depressing.

    “I always go straight
    to the obits..”
    Well, they should provide an interesting read and probably fill more than one page.

    Ooh Angel is stalking Buffy, but at least he does it with Buffy knowing about it.
    This is one aspect that makes me dislike their relationship now after many re-watches, they are way too overprotective of each other. Of course there is danger everywhere they go, but both are more than capable of protecting themselves.
    Also Buffy trying to read Angel’s mind is why I think this relationship is really not working anymore.
    Buffy is so unsure about his feelings for her and he is so dependent on her loving him, like she is the only good thing in his life. This is not a good basis for a relationship. Juvpu vf jul V ybir gur ur yrnirf ure fb gung fur pna unir n abezny yvsr. Vg frrzf fhpu n urebvp pyvpué, ohg xabjvat gung guvf ernyyl uhegf uvz naq frrvat uvz yngre va YN ntnva qrgnpurq sebz uhznavgl, vg jnf n frysyrff qrpvfvba naq cebonoyl gur orfg ur pbhyq znxr sbe obgu bs gurz.

    I like that we see how hard it is to control your thoughts. You can think “I’m not going to think about this, I’m not going to think about this.” Which is exactly when you are thinking about it.

    “You had sex with Giles. You had
    sex with Giles!
    On the hood of a police car?!
    Oh god, finally! We’ve been rot13ing so much about this since Band Candy.
    I will forever love this scene.

    “Jr nyy unir snagnfvrf jurer jr'er
    cbjreshy naq erfcrpgrq. Jurer crbcyr
    cnl nggragvba gb hf.
    Ohg fbzrgvzrf gur snagnfl vfa'g rabhtu,
    vf vg, Wbanguna? Fbzrgvzrf lbh unir gb
    znxr vg fb crbcyr qba'g vtaber lbh. Znxr
    gurz cnl nggragvba.“
    Qvq Jvyybj whfg tvir Wbanguna gur vqrn gb perngr gur nygreangr havirefr jurer rirelbar ybirf uvz?

    Buffy becoming completely overwhelmed by people’s thoughts is so sad and really interesting,orpnhfr Jvyybj rkcrevraprf gur fnzr birejuryzvat cbjre jura fur gheaf vagb Qnex!Jvyybj, sbe ure gubhtu vg’f whfg rzbgvbaf naq abg gubhtugf, juvpu jvyy yrnq ure gb nyzbfg qrfgebl rnegu.

    I love, Larry here. It’s nice that they show how positive he is about it.

    That is not only indirect sunlight in Buffy’s bedroom; Angel should have burned to ashes.

    “Dingoes Ate My Baby' play their
    instruments as if they had plump Polish
    sausages taped to their fingers…"
    “Sorry, man.”
    “No. It's fair.”
    Oz’ opinion of his own band is so honest and should be an example to a lot of wannabe and some actual stars. ‘We suck, but that won’t stop us’

    “Ohg ur'f fgnegvat
    gb trg gung ybbx, yvxr ur'f tbaan nfx zr
    gb gur cebz.”
    (Ab, ur jvyy qb fbzrguvat zhpu zber zrzbenoyr naq zrnavatshy ba gung qnl. Fbb ybbxvat sbejneq gb gung rcvfbqr.)

    And then we have Giles running into a tree. I need look at it again and again and again.
    Start with the gifs!

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      And Giles running into the tree was actually an outtake that everyone agreed was too perfect not to keep! Kind of like "I am so smart, SMRT" from The Simpsons; it's hard to believe it wasn't actually planned.

    • Coghead says:

      Juvpu vf jul V ybir gur ur yrnirf ure fb gung fur pna unir n abezny yvsr. Vg frrzf fhpu n urebvp pyvpué, ohg xabjvat gung guvf ernyyl uhegf uvz naq frrvat uvz yngre va YN ntnva qrgnpurq sebz uhznavgl, vg jnf n frysyrff qrpvfvba naq cebonoyl gur orfg ur pbhyq znxr sbe obgu bs gurz.

      This. Forever this. NgF!Natry vf vasvavgryl fhcrevbe gb OgIF!Natry, sebz gur jbeq tb.

    • PheasantPlucker says:

      'Juvpu vf jul V ybir gur ur yrnirf ure fb gung fur pna unir n abezny yvsr. Vg frrzf fhpu n urebvp pyvpué, ohg xabjvat gung guvf ernyyl uhegf uvz naq frrvat uvz yngre va YN ntnva qrgnpurq sebz uhznavgl, vg jnf n frysyrff qrpvfvba naq cebonoyl gur orfg ur pbhyq znxr sbe obgu bs gurz."

      This this this this this!!!

  7. Mez says:

    Failure of Secret Identity Count:

    23 + 1 (Jonathan) = 24

  8. Ryan Lohner says:

    The original intended airdate for this episode: April 24, 1999. Until four days earlier, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold decided to go on their shooting spree at Columbine High School. Usually I think this kind of thing is an overreaction, but they definitely made the right call with that one.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Dammit; I usually do read these things before posting, and the one time I was too eager to get a statement out, this happens. Well, I guess it's still a handy thread to discuss the issue.

    • red ira says:

      Back in 2004, there was a very successful song in Germany, called "Die perfekte Welle" ("the perfect wave"), and it was played like three times an hour by every radio station. It was about surfing and fate, or something deep. The song was number one. Then the tsunami happend. Took 8 months until I heard it again.

      • misterbernie says:

        …goddammit now I have THAT SONG stuck in my head.

        Das ist die perfekte Welle, das ist der perfekte Tag, lass dich einfach von ihr tragen, denk am besten gar nicht nach…

        Shit, I still know the chorus &gt;.&lt;

      • Iamwinterborn says:

        …People surf in Germany?

        My mind boggles. All I can think about Germany is Woods… and cities. And I guess there's the baltic coast, but it's uhhhh the BALTIC. Isn't it really, really, really cold?

        Who would want to go surfing in that?

        *types this in California, where we've been going through a cold spell: 60 degrees (Farenheit for all you Europeans. Go get a calculator and calculate it to your so called "Celcius". I had to for science classes. Now is my revege!) for the last couple of weeks*

      • Andie says:

        Strangely, after Hurricane Katrina, the radio stations here WOULDN'T STOP playing "New Orleans Is Sinking" by the Tragically Hip.

    • hpfish13 says:

      Its the couple of lines that I think made it too close to home to air

      This one

      XANDER: Yeah, I mean, who hasn't just idly thought about taking out the whole place with a semi-automatic?

      and this

      XANDER: I'm still having trouble with the fact that one of us is just gonna gun everybody down for no reason.

      CORDELIA: Yeah, because that never happens in American High Schools.

      OZ: It's bordering on trendy at this point.

  9. hpfish13 says:

    This episode is full of so many mood turns, from funny to serious, back to funny over and over again. The ability to do this is one of the many things I love about Buffy!

    It is also #7 of Joss’s top 12 episodes he didn’t write and here is why:

    “A mission statement for the show. Spoken by Buffy herself after all the funny and the twisty and the creepy we could wring out of that premise”

    I believe he is referring to this “You know what? I was wrong. You are an idiot. My life happens to, on occasion, suck beyond the telling of it. Sometimes more than I can handle. And it's not just mine. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because they're too busy with their own. The beautiful ones. The popular ones. The guys that pick on you. Everyone. If you could hear what they were feeling. The loneliness. The confusion. It looks quiet down there. It's not. It's deafening.”

    There are so many fun moments in hearing everyone’s inner monologue and Buffy’s glee (at first) at her new power is so adorable. Particularly I love that Cordelia says exactly what she’s thinking and that Oz says nothing, but is thinking so much.

    Even after things start to get intense (post-Buffy hears the threat and collapses), there are still fun moments and the best is probably this one:
    Buffy: Why are you…? (she bolts up in bed) You had sex with Giles?!
    Joyce: (gasps)
    Joyce: (turns to hurry out of the room) It was the candy! We were teenagers!
    Buffy: On the hood of a police car?!?
    Joyce: (stops just outside the room looking back) I'll be downstairs. You feel better. (she hurries away)
    Buffy: (calling after her) TWICE!!!!

    Also, apparently (according to Wikipedia) Giles running into the tree was not in the script, but was Antony Stewart Head’s idea.
    Also, I love this funny moment with Angel! He’s so deadpan!

    Angel: And Buffy, be careful with this gift. A lot of things that seem strong and good and powerful, they can be painful.
    Buffy: Like say, immortality?
    Angel: Exactly, I'm dying to get rid of that.
    Buffy: Funny.
    Angel: I'm a funny guy.

    Now, onto more serious stuff. Does anyone think that Willow’s interrogation of Jonathan had some impact on him deciding to kill himself? I’m not sure, but it certainly seems possible.

    I like that Buffy came to people with their problems in this episode. She told Giles about the itching hand, talked to Angel about Faith (after really failing at being subtle)

    And, I think I need to post the official info before getting into the rest of my comment

    Episode 18: Earshot
    Written by Jane Espenson, Directed by Regis B. Kimble
    Original Airdate: 9/21/99

    “After a vicious fight with a couple of demons, glowing demon ooze seeps into Buffy’s skin. At first she is not pleased to learn what has happened…until she starts to have fun with her newfound powers.”

    The next episode of this show aired on 5/4/99 and this one was originally planned to be aired in the last week of April 1999. Instead, it was postponed because the network thought it would be a bad idea to air it about a week after the shootings at Columbine.

    It’s interesting to think that this episode would have been written very differently or not at all post-Columbine. The whole threat to the students is treated with equal parts humor (the ineffective interrogations) and drama (Buffy’s conversation with Jonathan) whereas I think most of the humor would have been eliminated if written later.

    It’s interesting noticing things in movies and tv that would never happen today, because of events that happened after they were made. For example, I watched Armageddon for the first time about 2 years ago. In the beginning of that movie, meteors crash into New York City, including the World Trade Center, which collapses the same way it actually did on September 11th. The movie was made in 1998, but when I watched it, I remember being startled that this was happening in a movie because it just wouldn’t happen today.

  10. Delta1212 says:

    A cute, perky blond girl has telepathic abilities that overwhelm her ability to cope, and the only person whose mind she can’t read is her vampire boyfriend.

    One question: Did I just summarize the premise of Earshot or True Blood? It’s for the yearbook.

    Also, I believe this is the episode where I first noticed Jonathan and went “Wait, I recognize that guy. How long has he been on this show now?”Β Naq ubj uvynevbhf jnf Jvyybj’f fcrrpu gb uvz nobhg jnagvat gb or abgvprq naq nqzverq va ergebfcrpg? Jryy, uvynevbhf naq gentvp.

    • Nos says:

      I think most of us consider the True Blood novels very cracky Buffy AU fanfiction.

    • Binx says:

      LOL. Nice catch.

      However, I've gotta say that I love me some True Blood. It's one of the best pure entertainment popcorn offerings around IMO. The novels on the other hand bore me to tears. Super mediocre and seemingly written by a 7th grader. Sorry, Ms. Harris. I hear you're a nice person. Still, my opinion is that, yes, it is a super-dull ripoff premise, but one that was made off-the-wall crazy fun by a really creative team that jumped on the vampire bandwagon and took it to the nth degree. What I love about it it that it doesn't try to be prestigious or serious or act like it's anything new – it takes what it knows it is and revels in it. I love writing that's self-aware and just runs with it.

      Side note: WTF, HBO? It's one of the most popular shows on TV and you're still going to hold to the 12 episodes a year bullshit?

      Also, Starz, I'm pointing the finger at you for pulling the exact same shenanigans with Spartacus. Full seasons, please! For the love of God!

      • arctic_hare says:

        Please don't use the word "crazy" on this site.

      • Karen says:

        I am #Team Books! Lol. They are poorly written, but IDGAF. That's part of their charm for me. They are really fun reads and I think Sookie is a really likeable heroine.

        I finally gave up on the show halfway through last season though because it just started to veer too far into the ridiculous for me and the show was clearly struggling with trying to give storylines to all the characters they introduced in season 1 even though they no longer had anything to do with the main plot.

        • Binx says:

          You're right. They did seem to struggle a bit last season, but the addition of Fiona Shaw made up for it for me (God, I love her). And for the most part, I'm Team Books too, but I do think there are a few shows and films that do it better. Namely, Lord of the Rings, The Vampire Diaries, and True Blood. But maybe that's just me.

      • Delta1212 says:

        A dozen episodes are full seasons for premium cable. It takes a year to make that many episodes at the quality level that they do (I'm talking production quality). If you want a 20-26 episode season at HBO standards, you need to be willing to wait two years between seasons.

        It's unfortunate, but they aren't arbitrarily restricting their content output. Network shows get more episodes per season because they cost significantly less and don't have as much work put into producing each episode.

  11. arctic_hare says:

    The most important part of this episode is learning that Giles and Joyce had sex twice on top of that police car. Rrowr. Cue the porno music.

    … Uh, yeah, so, as many other people will tell you, this was super-delayed till just before the start of season four because of the Columbine tragedy. So we all saw this AFTER the finale. For that reason, I often tend to forget about this episode's existence, despite it being really good. So, other thoughts on it.

    Haha, good to see Percy is doing his work now and listening to Willow.

    Okay, we haven't met this Freddy, but I already heavily dislike him for that "psuedo-prostitutes" line. Fuck the hell off.

    "Oh my God, he's looking at her! He's got his filthy adult Pierce Brosnan-y eyes all over my Cordy."

    If you liked it, then you should've put a ring on it
    If you liked it, then you should've put a ring on it
    Don't be mad once you see that he want it
    If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it

    … obviously, I am not advising that Xander and Cordelia should've gotten married, because they were only seventeen and this is California, not Kentucky, but you get the basic idea! You had your turn, Xander, now you're going to learn what it really feels like to miss Cordy.


    Maybe this is where you know who got the idea of a mind-reader not being able to read one person's mind, only it got flipped around and creepified.

    And it's sad that that's the only thing that entertains me during this B/A romantic angst scene. Sigh.

    Well, until the "dying to get rid of that" exchange. I want more funny Angel, dammit.

    Guvf vf jul V yvxr uvz orggre ba uvf bja fubj, orpnhfr gurl'er abg nsenvq gb unir fvyyl Natry zbzragf gung cbxr sha ng uvz.

    My favorite part of this scene is Cordelia just verbalizing everything she thinks. <3 I also laugh really hard at the way Buffy stares at Wesley when he's thinking about Cordelia. He's absolutely right, in that situation I would be no different from him or Xander (or Joyce later). I'd be unable to stop myself from thinking about the things I least wanted someone else to hear. It's just how the human brain works, oddly enough.

    The cafeteria scene perfectly illustrates why I would never ever want that power and why it would result in my having a complete mental breakdown. It's hard enough for me to handle an overload of normal noise around me, and if you added being able to hear everyone's thoughts on top of that? I couldn't do it. I just couldn't. It's bad enough when I've got multiple people talking at me and music/TV blaring and other regular noises.

    LOL, Xander's inappropriate joke was actually on-target. The things you notice on rewatches…

    The discussion of school shootings makes me wince, especially the "it's bordering on trendy" line. I really don't like that one, I don't think that's remotely funny at all. I can see why it was delayed for a while, because that would seem even more insensitive right after all those people died.

    Jbj, guvf srryf yvxr sberfunqbjvat sbe Fhcrefgne va uvaqfvtug.

    LOL @ Hogan.

    Haha, I love Nancy for that line.

    Awwww, Larry.

    It looks like she's drinking the contents of a lava lamp or something.

    Xander, come on, I don't think Larry would out you.

    I have super mixed feelings about Xander uncovering the lunch lady's dastardly scheme. On the one hand, yay, he saved the day! ALL GOOD. But there's this other part of me I can't shut up that reacts like this: "OH XANDER, ICK! WHY? JELLO? REALLY? EEEEEEEEEEEWWWWW GROSS!"

    … I just really hate Jello, okay? I DON'T DO JIGGLY FOOD. NEVER HAVE.

    It really bugs me that after that heartfelt speech to Jonathan, she dismisses him to Giles like that at the end. Really, Buffy? I am disappoint.

    • Jenny_M says:

      Hidden Clueless reference FTW!

    • I’d be unable to stop myself from thinking about the things I least wanted someone else to hear. It’s just how the human brain works, oddly enough.

      I think it was in one of the books in The Dark is Rising series that bar bs gur punenpgref vf noyr gb zvfyrnq fbzrbar jub vf ernqvat uvf gubhtugf. V znl or zvfgnxra nf V ernq vg rbaf ntb, ohg V guvax gur znva punenpgre vf njner gung n fgenatr ivfvgbe znl or gelvat gb ernq uvf gubhtugf, fb ur sbphfrf ba jbaqrevat jung vf sbe oernxsnfg (be fbzrguvat nybat gur yvarf bs sbbq) naq gur fgenatre znxrf n pbzzrag nobhg uvz ybbxvat irel uhatel.

      I always wonder if that would actually work…

      • Saphling says:

        *loves those books and is so happy to see that they're on Mark's Confirmed-to-Read list*

      • Thanks for ROT13ing that for me. I swear I checked the list before I posted, but I guess I looked for Dark is Rising and not THE Dark is Rising.

        God, I really think my brain is constantly trying to sabotage everything I do.

    • NeonProdigy says:


      …Because Jello is amazing. I kinda wish I had some right now actually.

    • hpfish13 says:

      I'm totally with you on the Jello thing, the only thing worse than that is flan. It feels like you are eating a slug, ick!

    • Coghead says:

      Guvf vf jul V yvxr uvz orggre ba uvf bja fubj, orpnhfr gurl'er abg nsenvq gb unir fvyyl Natry zbzragf gung cbxr sha ng uvz.


      Gur qrpvfvba gb cnve uvz jvgu ulcrenpgvir xvqf yvxr Pbeql, Qblyr (*fbo*), naq Jrf sebz gur irel fgneg jnf travhf. V whfg jngpurq gur rcvfbqr jvgu gur qnapvat fprar… *farex*

      • DreamRose311 says:

        Bbbbbbu gur qnapvat, naqgura gur rkgen ovgf bs vg ng gur raq…. Jurqbairefr. Whfg rirelguvat Jurqbairefr rire. Zna, guvf vf tbvat gb or fhpu n tbbq lrne naq nyy, ohg V ernyyl jnag n arj frevrf.

    • misterbernie says:

      I'd be unable to stop myself from thinking about the things I least wanted someone else to hear. It's just how the human brain works, oddly enough.
      Ahahah, this so SO much. I start thinking all the things I wouldn't want people to know just thinking about the premise of this episode. Good thing mindreading doesn't actual exist.


      I have no opinion on jello, other than jello shots are gross and I just do vodka in liquid form.

    • DreamRose311 says:

      I don't think the conversation about school shootings and the 'trendy' line are meant to be funny. I kind of figure the 'trendy' line as depressing commentary? Maybe?

    • @wickedzen says:

      "…because they were only seventeen and this is California, not Kentucky…"


      Must we go there?

      • arctic_hare says:

        It's a reference to a line from the movie Clueless, I wasn't actually making a disparaging remark about Kentucky.

        • @wickedzen says:

          Very well. I'mma take this opportunity for a shout-out to beautiful Appalachia. Cheers.

        • robin_comments says:

          totally OT, but that was such a brilliant subversion of the obligatory Jane Austen wedding ending, wasn't it? genius modern Austen adaption. I feel like Clueless and BtVS go together like peanut butter and jelly. They share a bit of the same language play & subverting tropes sensibility.

          • arctic_hare says:

            YES. I love that movie both because it's hilarious, and because it's such a brilliant modern day take on Emma. <3

            • robin_comments says:

              this is sooo OT and I'm sorry everyone, but– I just want to quickly rec "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters". (I would have begged for it on Mark Reads, but the value is really in a person's familiarity with the original source material.) Everyone always raves about "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" (which was indeed enjoyable), but imo "Sense & Sensibility and Sea Monsters" was a far more creative reimagining of the text while PP&Z was more of a non-joke mash-up (if a very clever one). My life would be COMPLETE if it could be optioned for film and Joss could write the screenplay.

      • aphasia says:

        thank you. stereotypes about the South, not any funnier than use of the word crazy, etc; I wouldn't expect you to let something racist or otherwise oppressive slide just because it was a quote. Just sayin

    • Seventh_Star says:

      what's your position on flan? πŸ™‚

    • @Ivana2804 says:

      "It really bugs me that after that heartfelt speech to Jonathan, she dismisses him to Giles like that at the end. Really, Buffy? I am disappoint. "

      I'm not. Giles' suggestion is kind of creepy. Buffy is not under obligation to go to the Prom with someone out of pity. Why should she do that instead of going with someone she likes and having that night be special for *her*? And in fact, the idea of a woman should go out on a date or do anything romantic with a guy she's not attracted to just to boost his self-esteem is rather gross.

      • arctic_hare says:

        That's not actually what I meant. Buffy shouldn't go to prom with him if she's not into him, but to make fun of his height right after he expressed pain over being perceived as a "short idiot" is incredibly insensitive.

        And from a Doylist perspective, I don't see why that exchange is necessary at all. It just makes Giles look like a creep and are we supposed to laugh at Buffy's mocking of the height of a person she just talked down from suicide (who it was established a short while ago is sensitive about this physical attribute)? I don't really find it funny, but that's just me.

    • Chris says:

      The Jello thing is terrible, but not because I hate Jello. I mean, he's in the middle of trying to stop a guy from shooting up the whole school! And he stops for Jello? I can't even hate Xander for this, because it's so clearly out of character and a plot device and the writing doesn't even pretend otherwise. I can only fanwank that this was the result of some kind of divine intervention, like the miracle snow in "Amends," otherwise I get super-angry at this episode and Jane Espenson, whom I otherwise love.

      • arctic_hare says:

        I chalk it up to the "OOC moment for the sake of a joke" phenomenon you see in some comedy episodes. I don't hate Xander for it either. (I just hate Jello.)

    • notemily says:

      You had your turn, Xander, now you're going to learn what it really feels like to miss Cordy.

      Hee hee. Don't pay him any at-TEN-tion!

      Angel really is at his best when he's poking fun at himself. That's why I can't take the Tai Chi and Sartre and Miracle Snow stuff seriously. The show never acknowledges how ridiculous it all is.

  12. Fun fact about me:

    This is the first episode of Buffy I ever saw. And it wasn't even the complete episode. I caught the last 5 minutes or so (the confrontation in the clock tower to the end) and thought… this may be something I need to watch.

    Luckily, at the time I think ABC Family was playing two episodes a day, so I caught up very quickly.

    And my world was forever changed.

  13. knut_knut says:

    This episode also made me think of the Columbine Massacre, and even though I thought this episode was really entertaining, towards the end it just started to get disturbing. I mean, Xander leaves his classmates to get killed because of JELLO. Even though in the end it was a good thing he did (the staring contest between him and the lunch lady as she just poured rat poison was pretty funny), HE GIVES UP THE SEARCH FOR JELLO. JELLO.

    I did enjoy Giles, though, as usual! "Look at her shoes. If a fashion magazine told her to she'd wear cats strapped to her feet" πŸ˜€ He should hang out with Gandalf and Pippin.

    AND LARRY! I love Larry!

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      "Look at her shoes. If a fashion magazine told her to she'd wear cats strapped to her feet"

      Oh I totally forgot that!

      Now I'm just gonna watch this show imagining that Giles totally judges their outfits constantly.

      • knut_knut says:

        WE NEED MORE SASSY GILES! I wish we could have a running commentary from Giles every episode- I’m sure it would be sassy and wonderful <3 I wonder what he thought of Xander’s weird Christmas-y shirt this week. It was pretty distracting. I’m sure he’d have something to say.

    • arctic_hare says:


    • Joe says:

      Yeah, I know Xander is an immature goofball, but the writers are stretching it a bit if they expect me to believe jello would tempt him minutes before a killing spree is supposed to happen at their school.

  14. NB2000 says:

    Oh god this episode.

    – The demons with no mouth are on the unsettling side.
    – "No mouth means no teeth! Unless they have them somewhere else." Yikes.
    – Wesley being shown up by the rest of the gang never gets old.
    – "Giles…INFECT?!" hee
    – "I always go straight to the obits." It's funny but aso kind of sad that Sunnydale High needs an obituary section.
    – "I thought you were going to make an expression." "I felt one coming on" again, hee
    – I'm just going to sigh and roll my eyes at Xander suddenly being all territorial about "My Cordy". Just, ugh.
    – "French babies learn it!" Flawless logic there random student.
    – So of course Buffy uses her new telepathy to sort of cheat at schoolwork, I'd at least consider doing the same thing (but then I'd feel guilty and not do it…probably)
    – "I'm 243 years I've loved exactly one person." If she wasn't, you know, dust I bet Darla would be very unhappy to hear that.
    – This episode wins all of the things for Cordelia and Oz's thoughts, especially Oz's. I don't think Willow has anything to worry about, Buffy doesn't seem to understand any of them. Xander on the other hand…just…eww.
    – "Follow the redhead" it's the obligatory Awww Oz line of the episode.
    – WBANGUNA! Interesting how he seems to realise something's up with Buffy when she stops in the middle of the cafeteria. He's standing just behind her and looking kind of uncomfortable in those few seconds before the threat (and how convenient that everyone else's thoughts go away for her to hear it).
    – "I'm cold!" Oh Cordelia
    – Xander actually on the right track with his jokes about the lunchlady.
    – "Who hasn't idly thought about taking out the place with a semi-automatic." this and the later "I'm still having trouble with the idea that one of us just going to gun us all down for no reason." "Because that never happens in American high schools." "It's bordering on trendy." Becomse so much more awkward and uncomfortable considering the original airdate.
    – Aaaah the classic reveal we've all been quoting in rot13 for months. "On the hood of a police car?! TWICE?!"
    – "Jr nyy unir snagnfvrf jurer jr'er cbjreshy naq erfcrpgrq…" JVYYBJ AB QBA'G TVIR UVZ VQRNF! Bu jryy.
    – It's an obvious joke but the "Apathy on the rise, No-one cares." headline makes me lol anyway.
    – "Berk" AHEM SHOW
    – Hey Larry!
    – Nice priorities with the review there Cordelia.
    – I'm torn between loving how conerned Joyce nad Giles are, and thinking how HOT Giles looks standing in the doorway.
    – Angel with a blanket, and a lava lamp to feed to Buffy.
    – Oh Jonathan, it works for the mislead of him as the killer but really? A rifle?
    – Freddy looks super confused by the Scoobies conversation.
    – lol forever at Cordelia just grabbing every guy in a striped shirt to find Jonathan.
    – And suddenly after about two seasons of being a jokey side character Danny Strong suddenly shows us he can ACT, really well. The entire Clocktower scene is just so beautifully done, by him and Sarah.
    – Wbanguna'f gbar ba "V jbhyqa'g rire uheg nalobql." Srryf irel trahvar naq qrsvavgryl svgf jvgu uvf yngre npgvbaf va Fhcrefgne naq rfcrpvnyyl frnfba 6.
    – No brand name, just "RAT POISON!" being used by the lunchlady, just so we get the point.
    – Her stunt double in the subsequent fight rivals the Becoming Part 2 doubles for worst in the series.
    – "If you're not too busy having sex with my MOTHER!" "*thunk*" I will forever love ASH for improvising that.

    • hpfish13 says:

      His delivery on "Stop saying my name like we're friends! We're not friends!" breaks my heart every time.

      • Coghead says:

        Naq gurl arire jvyy or sevraqf.

        "Ur'f yvxr guerr srrg gnyy!"

        SHPX LBH, OHSSL.



    • robin_comments says:

      –It's an obvious joke but the "Apathy on the rise, No-one cares." headline makes me lol anyway. —
      omg, I missed the lulz there. THANK YOU.

      –"I'm 243 years I've loved exactly one person." If she wasn't, you know, dust I bet Darla would be very unhappy to hear that.–
      ha! I always think oh, ANGEL. that's how everyone always feels during the dramatic height of every relationship they're in. (it's not your fault BtVS writers, I'm just so over the romance-trope of 'mature adult has never felt ~real attraction or emotional attachment to anyone else ever, until they meet their TRU WUV'.)

      • notemily says:

        Well, the way I see it is: Angel before he was turned: Too immature to love anyone. Angel after he was turned: Too evil to love anyone. Angel after the soul: Too miserable and self-loathing to love anyone. It kind of makes sense that he sees Buffy as his first real love, especially if you go by the theory that he sees her as his salvation.

    • American shows often use Brit-slang freely becuase we Yanks won't understand it and it'll get by.

    • notemily says:

      – It's an obvious joke but the "Apathy on the rise, No-one cares." headline makes me lol anyway.
      – "Berk" AHEM SHOW

      I also had both of these thoughts. I kind of liked the newspaper guy–I wish we got to see more of him and his hilarious headlines.

  15. arctic_hare says:

    Also, Mark, I <3 Little Miss Sunshine. Fantastic movie.

    • hpfish13 says:

      Indeed! I first saw this movie while in England, with a group of college students from California, we all just about died laughing and we all felt kind of homesick by the end of it.

      • arctic_hare says:

        The really strange thing is that I was actually thinking about it earlier, and then Mark brought it up in the review. MAYBE I READ HIS MIND. CREEPY.

  16. enigmaticagentscully says:

    It's strange, I totally got annoyed by the humour in Deathly Hallows Part Two, because it often felt really forced and inappropriate to me (why are we supposed to laugh at an innocent Goblin being burned alive? Why are you making jokes in the middle of a fucking war?) but this episode didn't give me that vibe at ALL.

    I guess it is really subjective, because to me it just clicked perfectly!

    • Patrick721 says:

      Maybe it's because the humor is such a large part of what makes Buffy an awesome show, but it's not really constant in Harry Potter.

  17. Karen says:

    My thoughts on this episode are very disjointed. So here goes a bullet point list.

    – Ohssl sernxvat bhg nobhg univat n culfvpny cneg bs n qrzba (purpxvat sbe ubeaf) erzvaqf zr bs Pbeqryvn purpxvat sbe ubeaf be n gnvy va “Oveguqnl” jura fur orpbzrf cneg qrzba.


    – “You had sex with Giles? You had SEX with GILES?” OMG. LOLLLL. “Band Candy” is now THAT MUCH funnier in retrospect. So all those of you who are new watchers and suspected something was up, you were right! “On the hood of a police car? TWICE?” And then at the end where Buffy is talking to Giles, “sure we can work out after school, if you’re not too busy having sex with my MOTHER,” and then Giles walking into the tree is one of my favorite gags from the whole show.

    – Awwwww…. Joyce spent the night on a chair in Buffy’s room!

    – Xander’s comments at the pep rally are really gross. And he’s being weirdly possessive about Cordelia. “My Cordy”???? REALLY? UGH. YOU DON’T OWN HER. ESPECIALLY NOT AFTER YOU CHEATED ON HER AND THEN YOU BROKE UP. Oh and then when he uses his investigating as an opportunity to hit on girls? GROSSSSSS.

    – It’s one of those classic stories where you start out thinking this new ability is super cool. Buffy can use it to show off in class! It’s kind of fun hearing other people’s thoughts! But pretty quickly she finds out that it’s not as great as it seems. Her friends don’t really want to hang around her because having someone hear their innermost thoughts is really disconcerting and feels a bit violating, I’d imagine. And then things go from bad to worse as the thoughts of those around her begin to overwhelm her. I think that this episode does a pretty good job of giving the message of “be careful what you wish for” even though it’s not something Buffy actually wished for. But yeah. Gifts aren’t always what they seem.

  18. Damn, that scene in the lunchroom is done so well.
    And it's kind of similar to the scene in the lunchroom in "A Better Human Being." TOO MANY VOICES.

    it still felt odd to end such a seriously-themed story with a joke.
    Jane Espenson's strength is in her comedy. Not that she's not good with the drama, too. V ybir gur ynfg fprar bs "Gur Unefu Yvtug bs Qnl," jvgu Naln, Unezbal, naq Ohssl, nyy jnyxvat njnl, nybar.

  19. Maya says:

    Giles walking into the tree wasn't supposed to happen. Anthony Stewart Head decided that it would be funny and hoped that Joss would actually keep it in the shot. And it's possibly one of my favorite bits in the show (even if it doesn't necessarily fit in with the feel of the end of the episode).

  20. WindsName says:

    Would it ever be possible to make an app of Mark Reads and Mark Watches?

  21. DonSample says:

    I liked the different perspectives we got on the way everyone thought.

    Everything Cordy thinks *does* pretty much come straight out of her mouth, uncensored.

    Oz, who is outwardly so quiet, has this constant internal philosophical monologue going on.

    Willow's mind runs on multiple, independent tracks.

  22. LucyGoosey says:

    Two tiny nitpicks- that rifle would have been a really poor choice for a person attempting suicide- its much too long to get the right angle (I've shot a rifle- I was always a little reassured that it would hard to shoot myself with it anywhere but like, the foot), and Buffy should have realized something was up when she only removed a single round from it.

    Alas, I really do not think it is possible to make a lunch worker trying to poison everyone in a cafeteria serious. I don't think it can be done

  23. misterbernie says:

    I agree with you that the tonal shift during the climax is just very weird and makes the episode feel sorta… off.
    [deep emotional existential talk] vs [RAT POISON SHENNANIGANS and also OBVIOUS STUNT DOUBLE HELLO]

    I meant to gif Giles walking into a tree but then reading about crusader states, female rulers thereof and then the Great Schism kinda kept me from rewatching this ep. Oops.

    German title: Fremde Gedanken – Strange/Foreign Thoughts.

    • misterbernie says:

      Oh also, lol @ you Americans having to wait oh-so-long. We in dubland had to wait for a year until we got our versions*! Which was also why, after I discovered the internet, I've always been spoiled about all the things because I couldn't wait until the dub arrived.

      *Earshot apparently aired three days after we got Beauty and the Beasts.

      On the plus side, we got season three aired as supposed to without any rescheduling.

    • cait0716 says:

      THE STUNT DOUBLE IS SO OBVIOUS! Like a foot taller and not at all the same build. It's so distracting

  24. cait0716 says:

    Regarding Columbine: Xander was definitely right about school shootings bordering on trendy. And this episode remains strangely linked with that tragedy in my mind

    Earshot is another great example of an episode balancing humor with more serious concerns. There's a whole lot of funny:

    *The scene where Buffy starts quoting her teacher's dissertation, even though she has no clue what it means

    *I'm bored. I wonder when I can go "I'm bored. Can I go?" Oh Cordy, you really do just say whatever is on your mind.

    *Xander can't stop thinking about sex

    *Neither can Wesley

    *Apathy on the Rise: Nobody Cares

    *"I always go straight to the obits"

    *I'm a funny guy"

    *"You had sex with Giles? On the hood of a police car!? Twice!?!"

    *The lunch lady is trying to kill everyone with rat poison

    *"We can work out after school. If you're not too busy having sex with my mother"

    But it's not all funny. I love Buffy's speech to Jonathan at the end:

    My life happens to, on occasion, suck beyond the telling of it. Sometimes more than I can handle. And it's not just mine. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because they're too busy with their own. The beautiful ones. The popular ones. The guys that pick on you. Everyone. If you could hear what they were feeling. The loneliness. The confusion. It looks quiet down there. It's not. It's deafening

    I also love Larry in this episode. He's a minor background character, but he's one of my favorites. My heart just bursts for him because he's come so far from the bully he was a year ago. And he clearly has an excellent support system, given that even his grandmother fixing him up with guys.

    From Jane Espenson's commentary for this episode (specifically the scene where Buffy wakes up after passing out in the cafeteria):

    One of the things I love about our show is that Buffy isn't just the muscles. Being the slayer also makes you the general. She's the one who has to figure out how they're going to approach all their crises. So this a great scene of hers. Even as she is sick and being led away, she's still directing everyone: "Go do this, make a list, find out who's in that cafeteria and don't just have it be the students – everyone." I think a lot of people had the misconception that this sort of show is about an airhead who happens to have strength, and it's not. Buffy is very smart.

    Have I mentioned before that Buffy is my hero?


    I remember the radio blacklist! Mostly because one of our local DJs specifically protested it when a caller requested a song that was on it. (I believe it was "New York, New York"). He mentioned the blacklist, and then basically said "Screw it, it's more healing to listen to this song than to not play it. You can change the station if you want." And from that point on he basically just threw the blacklist out the window.

    I'm one of the people who likes that this episode went for a comedic ending rather than a serious one. Given the timing and everything else going on, I needed that bit of levity.

    • TrampyMcBitca says:

      When the radio stations started playing music again after 9/11, they repeated some songs a lot more than others. To this day, U2's "Beautiful Day" is almost unlistenable to me because it brings me right back there.

    • Nomie says:

      My school had a spate of bomb threats over the years I was in high school, and I remember someone calling one in a week after Columbine and being absolutely fucking furious. Sophmore year of high school. GOOD TIMES.

  25. the_elisi says:

    She never watched Buffy, that's how.

    Anyway, just because it makes me laugh (and I don't have time for anything else):

    <img src=""&gt;

    'Gubhtu V jvfu gung zrnag gurl fbhaqrq yvxr gur Enzbarf.'
    BX, nalbar ryfr tb synvyl bire guvf?

  26. Abygail says:

    This has been a GOOD week! Nothing more to add. πŸ˜€

  27. DonSample says:

    Buffy Body Count totals for this episode:

    2 telepathic demons.

  28. DonSample says:

    Giles running into the tree was supposedly ad-libbed by Anthony Stewart Head on the day. (It's not in the script.)

  29. Ryan Lohner says:

    I distinctly remember a lot of people making the same "You are reading his mind, there's just nothing in there" jokes about Angel that would later be applied to Twilight. Even the haters rip things off from this show sometimes!

  30. k8cre8 says:

    I've been waiting for you to get to this episode to comment. Mostly, I've been just thrilled to relive the show with someone seeing it for the first time, which reminds me of seeing it for the first time, with all its twists and turns.

    I had caught parts of a few episodes before this one, including "Dark Age," which made little sense to me, since I didn't know Angel was a vampire, so the resolution of the demon leaving Jenny's body for Angel's made no sense.

    But, then Columbine happened, and my boss's kids were students at the high school. And this episode of Buffy was pulled, and I remember thinking, "How stupid."

    In the intervening months, I got tired of hearing about the tragedy. I was tired of the maudlin obsession with the victims, and how trite it all was. I was tired of the overly sentimental poetry and crap that was omnipresent, and I couldn't take it anymore.

    And then, by some strange quirk of coincidence, Earshot became the first episode of Buffy I saw from the beginning. I now understood why they'd pulled it. And I knew this was important TV, because, it's the first piece of entertainment that *GOT IT.* That understood the complexities of the issues, and, in a small way understood that there was a part of me that identified more with the shooters than with the victims. It didn't glorify murder, but, it also didn't trivialize anyone's experiences.

    From then on, I was a fan, and I soon caught up, and watched Angel from the beginning.

    Anyway, I've really enjoyed reading your reviews and reliving the beauty of this narrative with you. Thank you.

  31. guest_age says:

    My favorite bit in the episode–and let me be clear that this is in my top episodes from this series EVER because the combination of Jane Espenson and Jonathan owns my very SOUL–is Oz's musings: We think, therefore she is. And instead of voicing that very interesting and deep thought, he just says aloud, "Huh." BRILLIANCE.

    But let's talk about the scene in the tower, because I am in love with it. Trigger warning for discussion of thoughts of suicide/suicide attempts here, so if those things are triggering for you, please stop reading! I really relate to Jonathan in that scene. I attempted suicide at 14 via a gun as well, and much the same as Jonathan is stopped by someone who he feels is perpetuating the thing that has driven him to this unhappy place (in his case, being ignored), I was stopped by the person who had abused me for years and put me in that place. But I didn't get a speech like he got and God, I wish I had, because I think it'd have helped me work through my issues more quickly. I love what Buffy says because it's both brutally honest while simultaneously being very kind. And I'm glad they noted that she went to check on him later and that his parents had been informed and gotten involved, although I wish they'd at least mentioned that he'd sought therapy. Just a throwaway line, or something.

    I kind of love how you're noting that there is occasionally a similarity between Twilight and Buffy, but that when there is, Buffy manages to do that thing better in one episode than Twilight did in four books. (I also like how Buffy flips it: in Twilight, it's the male vampire who can hear thoughts but not the human girl's; in Buffy, it's the female human who can hear thoughts but not the male vampire's. Makes ten million times more sense.)

    Finally, let's all heave a collective sigh of relief that we no longer have to not spoil it the whole Joyce and Giles had sex on the cop car thing! Mark kept mentioning it, teasing us with the desire to spoil, but now we can finally acknowledge it. YAY.

    (I just have to say it before I end this comment: Jane Espenson is amazing and I love her and imho, she writes all the best Buffy episodes that aren't written by Joss himself. OKAY DONE NOW.)


    • (I just have to say it before I end this comment: Jane Espenson is amazing and I love her and imho, she writes all the best Buffy episodes that aren't written by Joss himself. OKAY DONE NOW.)

    • SelphieFairy says:

      Jane is my favorite, too!!! She's like your hip aunt, I swear! My brother and sister were telling me to watch Once Upon a Time the other day, and while I was checking it out I saw her name im the credits as a producer and flipped out. I was like, "OK IM CONVINCED I DONT EVEN NEED TO WATCH A SECOND OF THIS TO KNOW ITS GOOD." (and then i found out rapheal sbarge, who does kaiden's voice from Mass Effect and Carth's voice from KoTOR, plays a character on the and I was pretty much sold on it.)

  32. Danny_SAP says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    GILES I was just filling Buffy in on my progress regarding the research on the ascension.
    WESLEY Oh, and what took up the rest of the minute?&nbsp;
    GILES Touche.

    Giles is so disappointed in himself.
    <img src=""&gt;

    NANCY (blurting out) Race!
    MS MURRAY Uh… good, Nancy. Can't overlook that.
    MS MURRAY There's something else at work here.
    BUFFY Well, he, um, he sort of admits himself that his motive are… spurious! He, um, he does things because he, he enjoys them. It's like he's not, he's not really a person. He's a, the dark half of Othello himself.

    I just love the delivery of "Can't overlook that."
    <img src=""&gt;

    ANGEL And Buffy, be careful with this gift. A lot of things that seem strong and good and powerful, they can be painful.
    BUFFY Like say, immortality?
    ANGEL Exactly, I'm dying to get rid of that.
    BUFFY Funny.
    ANGEL I'm a funny guy.

    The best part of Angel as a character is that he is, actually, a really funny guy. If only his direction wasn't "emote" or "brood" so often.
    <img src=""&gt;

    OZ (V.O.) I am my thoughts. If they exist in her, Buffy contains everything that is me and she becomes me. I cease to exist.
    OZ Hmm…

    Oz has some good thoughts.
    <img src=""&gt;

    WESLEY (V.O.) Look at Cordelia. No! Don't look at Cordelia! She's a student! Oh I am a bad man. I'm a bad, bad man!
    WESLEY Excuse me.

    Wesley, less so.
    <img src=""&gt;

    BUFFY Why are you…? You had sex with Giles?! You had sex with Giles?!
    JOYCE It was the candy! We were teenagers!
    BUFFY On the hood of a police car!
    JOYCE I'll be downstairs. You feel better.
    BUFFY Twice!

    <img src=""&gt;

    CORDELIA I think I should work with Wesley.
    XANDER You have no shame.
    CORDELIA Oh please, like shame has something to be proud of.

    Cordy, I love you.
    <img src=""&gt;

    GILES Berk.

    Berkshire Hunt rhymes with cunt. Rhyming slang must be even more obnoxious than idioms for language learners.
    <img src=""&gt;
    Not at all suspicious.
    <img src=""&gt;

    GILES Feel up to some training?
    BUFFY Sure. We can work out after school. You know, if you're not too busy having sex with my mother!

    Willow was right, Giles is totally not on his game this episode.
    Not shown: the revelation that Sunnydale High's paper, which is run by a total hottie, has an obituary column, and there's actually an out gay man in the Whedonverse.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      "Berkshire Hunt rhymes with cunt. Rhyming slang must be even more obnoxious than idioms for language learners."



      I call people 'berk' all the bastard time how did I NOT KNOW THIS?

      • misterbernie says:

        Because rhyming slang is fucking ridiculous? I mean, it could be for 'Berkshire marsehole' for all you know.

        • enigmaticagentscully says:

          It actually makes me a bit happy because I live in Berkshire. πŸ˜›
          Also because I have apparently really insulted a lot of people with realising.

          • misterbernie says:

            I don't live close to any accidentally insulting places πŸ™
            even Fucking and Petting and Mount Wank (and ~erotically speaking~ Kissing) are relatively far away :((

            I doubt you really have; I mean, I don't think many people actually know the origin of 'berk' (outside of a "hey did you know…" context), and even then, the word itself doesn't carry the same connotations as the referenced word, I'd say, going from my experience with Brits.

        • monkeybutter says:

          'Berkshire marsehole'

          If only. Then "berk" could be rhyming slang for "masshole."

      • UnstrungZero says:

        LOL I was assured by a british friend that the root of Berk is more rude than the insult nowadays; it's seen as a mild insult. But I've always known that was the root, even though I'm American, so I was all AGHAST and GLEEFUL at Giles using it here. *giggles*

        Nyfb, Fcvxr'f I va Uhfu. *g* Thank God for American censors not having to care about other countries' rudeness. *giggles*

    • misterbernie says:

      gurer'f npghnyyl na bhg tnl zna va gur Jurqbairefr.
      Arpx oernx ol fanxr gnvy va sbhe…

    • eternaleve says:

      Can everyone stop bringing up the Berkshire hunt = c*nt thing? It may have meant that once, a very long time ago, but it doesn't really now. The word has evolved past that point.

      • Danny_SAP says:

        I wasn't intending to imply that it's a synonym for cunt… I just think derivations are fun. For a less vulgar example of a WTF derivation… Orthopedics literally means "straightening children" because the field traditionally fixed postural musculoskeletal issues in kids.

        • misterbernie says:

          And "bugger" derives from "Bulgaria", because the Bogomilists (which arose in the Balkans) were believed to be devoted to… well… buggery. Fuck non-vulgarity.

        • eternaleve says:

          I'm sorry if I came across as overly defensive! It's just something that comes up each time any show or book uses the word 'berk' and it just one of my pet peeves I gues :/

        • notemily says:

          The Orthopedics thing is amazing I love you DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE OF THESE

          • misterbernie says:

            The most commonly cited origin for cretin is that it comes from a dialectal French version of Christian, probably in reference to the 'childlike innocence' and thus incapability of sinning of mentally challenged people (the other source I've found says it was euphemistic to ward off any demons causing that mental health issue, though).

            (And on a side note, Christ/Christian is cognate with grime, via PIE *ghrΔ“i- rub, smear)

            (BTW don't make me get out my book about folk etymologies because once I start…)

    • stormwreath says:

      Actually it's from Berkeley Hunt, because 'Berkshire' is pronounced 'Bark-shire' not 'Berk-shire'. πŸ™‚

    • notemily says:

      I love Cordelia's "like shame is something to be proud of" line too. LOVE.

      Also, that screencap just reminded me how weird and Christmas-y Xander's shirt was in this episode. What even is that shirt.

  33. t09yavosaur says:

    I didn't think to look up the air date, I just assumed this episode was partially “inspired” by Columbine. There is the line about school shootings becoming trendy that probably factored greatly into the decision.

    -Unicorn Blood?
    – πŸ™‚ Hi Percy!
    -What is this? Buffy going to Giles at the slightest sign of weirdness?
    -Has Cordy been a cheerleader this whole time?
    -Oh….Well….I think every sci-fi show ever has a mind reading episode so I guess it is about time.
    -Poor Guy-With-His-Pants-Falling-Down. Being a slave to fashion is hard.
    -I really really like this Buffy/Angel conversation. My biggest problem in real life is with people who keep things bottled up. I know I do it too sometimes but if it really matters to me I will say something and, inversely if I know someone else is bothered by me but they don't say anything I am less inclined to be accommodating (since I don't know exactly what's up) and more likely to either continue or escalate annoying behavior to get them to finally tell me.
    -Haha, Xander, Wesley, Oz!
    -And Cordy says everything that she is thinking. Love it.
    -Johnny!! Welcome Back!
    -Annnnnd that secret is out. Oh Joyce.
    -Why is Willow always interrogating Johnathan?
    -I like you Hogan.
    -Cause that isn't suspicious Freddy. It is making me think it is not you though.
    -Larry is drinking 7-Up. Larry has good taste.
    -Angel, this episode you are the best boyfriend. Getting Buffy to say what is bothering her, broodsome humor, catching on fire to bring her a slaughtered demon's heart.
    -I think I now know what a previous rot13 reply was about.
    -What Buffy is telling Johnathan is what every high school student/person needs to hear sometime.
    -Johnny πŸ™ [Though if I can be impartial for a sec a sniper rifle is not really a practical (or easily accessible) weapon for anything except sniping]
    -Xander was right! And he rushed to save everyone!
    -The students were saved by Jello. I approve of this message.
    -That last scene was MAGNIFICENT! I especially liked the kid in the background whose head whipped around when she said that.

    I am a bit confused about the spoiler policy. Many people who have seen the show were theorizing during Band Candy about whether or not Giles and Joyce actually hooked up, the majority saying they thought they did; Enough people that I got the impression that it was fanon. Now it turns out to be canon so shouldn't that have counted as spoilery?

    • I think that Band Candy and the episodes afterwards implied fairly strongly that Joyce and Giles hooked up. I think it only would have counted as spoilery if someone said, "They did have sex, it's confirmed in a later episode!"
      It wasn't unreasonable to think they hooked up based on just what happened in the earlier episodes, and not a spoiler to speculate and say "I think so"

      • _Bailey_ says:

        It was implied VERY strongly. Actually, the writers thought they had made it clear that they did have sex. It was only after they saw the fan confusion that they decided to clarify it, in this episode.

    • I wasn't surprised at Cordy's being on the cheer squad; she doesn't seem the type who'd give that up.

  34. It's still really odd to think that this episode should have aired just after the Columbine Tragedy in April 1999. And I still wonder how it would have been if it still had aired at the right schedule….

    It was the same thing for the 3×22 which only aired on July, long long time after the 3×21. End of Buffy season 3 had a difficult and messed up schedule! Though the ratings stayed good in spite of that.

    I liked this episode a lot, between the parallel with Othello and Buffy's feelings and the "aspect of the demon" storyline.

    – It always wrenches my heart when we see Buffy feeling lonely and excluded from other students' life, not being able to have a "normal" life. And the readind mind power that made her think that she could feel more closed to her friends, pushed her more deeply in the loneliness of her busy-almost-exploding head. πŸ™

    – Buffy and Giles' scenes were pretty good. From "Infect, infect, infect?" to "When I walked in a few minutes ago, you thought 'Look at her shoes. If a fashion magazine told her to, she'd wear cats strapped to her feet".
    The two of them are always good together as a Watcher and the Slayer.

    – Nothing's better when the show brings past events to memory. And "Bad candy" was an unforgettable memory!
    "You had sex with Giles? On the hood of a police car?!? Twice?" Haha

    – The daytime scene between Angel and Buffy was really nice. Between Buffy trying to "read" Angel's mind and the frank and opened conversation following, reminding us what happened with Faith last episode, it was all well written and acted . Smart development for the couple.
    And bedhead Angel is definitely worth the watch… "In 243 years, I've loved exactly one person."

    "Oh god, am I going to start shipping Angel/Buffy? I CAN’T TAKE ON ANY MORE SHIPS IN MY HEAD" Hahaha

    – First time we see Angel fighting demons alone. More Angel the series settlings.

    – Love the discussion between Buffy and Jonathan. About pain and loneliness because, whoever we are, from Buffy the Slayer to Jonathan the invisible student, we all have had those kind of hurting feelings when we were in HS. I liked that the show brought seriousness there.

  35. Plactus says:

    Between Xander's "who hasn't just idly thought about taking out the whole place with a semi-automatic," Oz's declaration that school shootings are "bordering on trendy," and making it look like Wbanguna was going to pull a Charles Whitman… yeah, it's no surprise it got pulled.

    (On the other hand… After dinner on 9/11, looking for something to watch other than… well, what everyone was showing, I found the dorms' movie channel, which was about to play Snatch. The first lines of the movie are, "My name is Turkish. Funny name for an Englishman, I know. My parents to be were on the same plane when it crashed. That's how they met. They named me after the name of the plane. Not many people are named after a plane crash." I cringed for a second then laughed, much longer.)

    By time it finally did air, I'd gone to college (yep, I'm the same age as the main characters), so I wasn't beholden to my family's late dinner time (nice in itself; being able to watch Buffy live was a bonus). I didn't realize this episode was on until the friend who'd turned me on to the show in the first place asked if I was still watching; when I said I was hoping to get back into it, he told me this episode should be on and I tuned in just in time to see this scene:

    I don't think about you much at all. Nobody here really does. Bugs you, doesn't it? You have all this pain and all these feelings, and nobody's really paying attention…. Believe it or not, Jonathan, I understand about the pain…. My life happens to, on occasion, suck beyond the telling of it. Sometimes more than I can handle. And it's not just mine. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because they're way too busy with their own. The beautiful ones, the popular ones, the guys that pick on you, everyone. If you could hear what they're feeling: the confusion, the loneliness. It looks quiet down there. It's not. It's deafening.

    I was back into it. I'm fairly certain that I got to see the season finale before the new seasons started, but I wouldn't swear to that.

    • "…the demon Azorath will not be involved…" (Everybody gets up and leaves.) Ha.
    • "I don't know; I always go straight to the obits." "Their spelling's improved." Love you, Oz. Which I feel compelled to mention because…
    • "A weredog?" Ahem. You were at the game last night rather than locked in a cage in the library. Consider the implications of that. Now ask yourself again, could it have been a weredog?
    • Bxnl, lrf, V'z njner bs jung jr yrnea nobhg jrer*f va "Arj Zbba Evfvat." Ohg V qba'g guvax Bm vf.
    • As a Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood fan, seeing Buffy frustrated that she can't read Angel's mind is pretty amusing.
    • "TWICE?!" And there's your answer.
    • "Apathy on the rise, no one cares." It's such a cheap joke, which is WHY I love it.
    • Just how often does the school newspaper come out? I mean, mine was… every two weeks, at most. And we weren't a small school.
    • I'm not sure I believe that Xander got there in time to stop anyone from eating any of the poisoned food, but… whatever. I love this episode too much to seriously question it. πŸ™‚
    • "He's like three feet tall." Looking it up on IMDb: SMG is 5'4", Danny Strong 5'2". Make of that what you will.

    Body Count:
    • Demon, killed by Buffy.
    • (Offscreen) Demon, killed by Angel.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Just how often does the school newspaper come out? I mean, mine was… every two weeks, at most. And we weren't a small school.

      I wondered that, too. Sunnydale's school paper staff seems to be one guy (who gets his own office?) and it looks like it comes out once a week or so. I was on the school paper staff of a high school of ~1700 students my senior year. We were a bunch of slackers. We only brought out one issue a month, and even then we mostly made up stories, interviewed each other, and used the journalism classroom computers to make fake IDs. They brought me on as a copy editor, and I did actually do my job when called upon, but somehow my edited copy never seemed to be the final printed version. *sigh*

  36. cemeterybaby says:

    Okay, the giant RAT POISON box and the evil lunch lady and the obvious stunt double, it's all very hokey and it DOES contrast really bizarrely with how serious the storyline is at that point. But I gotta say, I appreciate it. The message otherwise is so heavy that the levity is, in my case at least, fairly welcomed as a respite from the weighty stuff like suicide and feelings of alienation. I also like that, in classic Buffy fashion, the storyline is exceptionally twisty. First it's Buffy's fun new superpower, then how much the superpower sucks, then about curing Buffy AND a pending massacre, then a gotcha! twist that forks off into Jonathan's suicidal intentions and Buffy's understanding of his feelings (really poignantly, I thought, given that even as she is sympathizing with Jonathan about EVERYONE feeling that way, she is herself realizing that just because other people don't know what it's like to be the Slayer doesn't mean everyone has the normal, pain-free life she is always desperately grasping for)…Jane Espenson, you are my queen.

  37. Jerssica says:

    I really adore this episode and I adore Jonathan. I do wish this was aired when it was supposed to because it could have been incredibly cathartic. On that note, Little Miss Sunshine is an amazing movie. Also, I had a similar sort of situation a couple years ago. A friend of mine from college died very suddenly one morning 2 years ago. It was awful, but I knew if I sat in my apartment all day, I'd be an absolute mess. I had tickets for the super awesome musical 'In the Heights' with my roommate. I had seen this show before, but I still forgot what happens in the second half. Needless to say, I have never cried so hard at a show. I am curious as to what people sitting around me thought. However, this was SO cathartic and was so much better for me than just sitting around all day and missing Ethan. Oh wow that got very off topic. Sorry, the 2 year anniversary was a few weeks ago and everything is very fresh all over again.

    Umm back on topic, Giles/Joyce forever.

  38. 1979semifinalist says:

    I feel similarly about this episode, when I watch it now, I still love the jokes and have such affection for the characters and I love seeing them in a situation like this (Buffy able to read their minds) because it creates interesting and hilarious things, but tonally something has always felt a bit off to me…maybe it's the end as Mark points out, which doesn't really hit right or resonate right.

    That said, it gets massive points for showing us what it's like in Oz's head (i.e. confirmation that it's completely AWESOME in there) and for showing so clearly what is truly fantastic about Cordelia…what she thinks, is exactly what she says. Love it.

    Cordelia is a truth teller character, which tend to be my favorites…they have such power in their way. You can't have everyone being truth teller characters, that would never work, but man does it make things fun to have them around. See also: Spike!

  39. Danny_SAP says:

    I think one of the issues with lunch lady end is that it is totally a fat joke, right? It's funny because she's fat and service workers are supposed to stay in the background and not have lines. Am I alone in this feeling?

    • misterbernie says:

      …now that you've mentioned it, no, you're not alone. There definitely is something uncomfortable there.

    • Kickpuncher says:

      I think the joke is just the whole contrast between the stakes of the episode with the whole atmosphere of apprehension that’s been built up, and the cartoonish image of the lunch lady pouring a huge box clearly labeled “Rat Poison” into the food. It’s a subversion of expectations that the whole thing is resolved so easily by Xander stumbling across it.

      The lunch lady’s weight is pretty incidental to the whole thing. It’s maybe a bit insensitively portrayed, but there’s more to the joke than “she fat.”

      • Danny_SAP says:

        I agree that it's not the whole joke… but the super cartoonish image of pouring rat poison in a giant kettle is certainly "enhanced" by the sight of a large woman in a cafeteria uniform.

        • notemily says:

          Well, the fat joke comes in for me when she talks about how they are vermin for "eating" all the time. Like it's supposed to be some kind of commentary on fat people and projected self-hate? I don't know, it's just weird.

      • SelphieFairy says:

        It's also funny because both Xander and the Lunch lady are clearly doing something wrong. It actually takes Xander a sec to realize that what she is doing is much worse.

  40. Mark says:

    Wbanguna. πŸ™

  41. So I do this thing where sometimes when I'm thinking, I'll start to wonder whether someone is reading my thoughts. Then I'll actually directly ask that question (in my head) and then look around to see if anyone reacted.

    I watch a lot of science fiction

  42. canyonoflight says:

    I think your discomfort with the light tone of the ending is a large reason why they postponed the airing of the episode. I didn't watch the show when the third season was airing. When Columbine happened, I was horrified. I was a junior in high school and became paranoid. It fucked with my mind. So, I think if this show had aired, the network would have gotten a lot of complaints and I honestly may have agreed with it at the time.

    Personally, I love everything about this episode and I think it's one of the best episodes of the series.

  43. Inseriousity. says:

    I don't really like the humour in deathly hallows but I don't mind it here. I suppose it helps when the jokes are actually funny, that's normally a big plus.

    It's not really important to the plot but Oz's philosophical ramblings is just so me (although I'm not as clever as him sobs) that it makes me laugh every time. I like to ponder philosophy questions in my spare time. Writing this down, I now realise there is no way I can say this to make it sound less geeky. Oh well!

    And I use Buffy's message about everyone else having their own problems, fears and insecurities to worry about someone else's all the time. It's a good motto for life. Sort your own problems out (as far as possible) and don't rely too much on other people!

  44. @sesinkhorn says:

    1) NOT JUST YOU. I've always felt like this episode was just kind of strange and off when I rewatched it. It's got some interesting themes to explore, but so much was just, yeah, weird.

    2) I genuinely love that Cordelia always says EXACTLY. WHAT. SHE'S. THINKING. Literal best.

    3) I am not going to lie, the Cordelia/Wesley dynamic going on here makes me uncomfortable. Admittedly I have deep-seated personal issues with authority figures/older people finding high school students sexually desirable, so it may very well be my own bias, but yeah. Not amused and generally humorless about the situation. I appreciate and fully support teenagers as sexual beings exploring their own sexuality, but I have definite issues with older people honing in on that. IDK, I don't like it. This may tie into point #7.

    4) I also will not lie about Joyce's awkwardness because she didn't want Buffy to know about her and Giles and Buffy's subsequent reaction ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS.

    5) ICU Othello parallel. Not like you were subtle, but still.

    6) Oz continues to be a shining beacon of humanity.

    7) I think privacy and personal boundaries are wonderfully explored here. The space inside our own mind is our most sacred, personal space. We can think dark, cruel, wrong thoughts without filter, and it's okay. It's the darkest part of ourselves, and the part that we run through all sorts of filters and analysis before we actually allow it to define who we are or act on it. To have someone peep in on those thoughts? Is really disturbing and violating. They're a part of us, but they're not (always) the part of us we choose to be. At the same time, I can fully understand Buffy's revulsion when she "hears" some of the boys making really sexualized comments about her without her permission. That can feel really violating, as well. But then we get to the tough questions… what if someone you don't think of in that way has sexual (or other) thoughts about you? Whether they act on them is a separate issue entirely, but how do you deal with knowing that? Do you have the right to tell them how they're allowed to use their own brain or shame them for thinking such things in their own private space where it doesn't *really* concern you? And I know this can tie into Wesley. Is it hands-down wrong for him to have the thoughts? IDK.

    8) Yes.

  45. Bricker501 says:

    The Sunnydale High Sentinel, a high school newspaper with an obituary section. Has the show made that joke before, or is this the first time.

    Headline: "Apathy on the Rise, No One Cares"

    • @sesinkhorn says:

      OH MAN, I forgot that! I love how at first you're like, "Oh haha, Oz, talking about flipping to the obits in a school newspaper. Oh, wait, this is Sunnydale High, they probably actually do have one πŸ™ "

    • Kari18212 says:

      They haven't made that exact joke before, but they talked about the 'In Memorial' section of the yearbook in "Out of Mind, Out of Sight"

  46. Ciella says:

    I still remember sitting in the theater sobbing like someone had killed my cat in font of me while I watched the final scenes of Serenity. And then promptly laughing through my tears as Kaylee vowed to live for sex. My absolute favorite thing about Joss Whedon’s style is his ability to make you laugh when you wanna cry and make you cry when you want to laugh. I feel as if it’s very real to life. My whole family was standing in the rain around my grandfather’s grave as they buried him when my Uncle let out this massive fart. It was so surreal I couldn’t help but crack up.

    Hopefully it’s not a spoiler to tell you that this is Joss’s style through and through. He will change the tone on you at the drop of a hat and I love him for it. But it definitely doesn’t change, so prepare yourself for that much.

  47. stellaaaaakris says:

    I LOVE MOST EVERYTHING THIS EPISODE CHOOSES TO BE (after it settles in tone – I wasn't too sure for the first 20 minutes). Let me list the ways:
    -Buffy (and us) finding out about Giles and Joyce in the most hilarious and awkward way possible.
    -Finally, somebody was looking in a mirror and, when they looked away, a vampire was there. I feel vindicated.
    -Oz having extremely complicated thought versions of "I think, therefore I am" and expressing them as "Huh."
    -If Buffy'd listen in on my thoughts, a lot of it would be a dance party. At least she'd know what songs I'm bouncing along to.
    -A break from the traitorous evil Faith story line. At least it was only mentioned in passing.
    -Cordelia saying ages ago how having tact was only not saying true things and she'd pass. And pass she did. Love that they kept that and it was beautiful.
    -Giles walking into a tree. I don't care, I think it's hilarious. I've done similar things – lamp posts though, not trees.
    -The scene when Buffy ran up the stairs, loved it. It was really impressive and I love realistic looking action sequences.

    Things I didn't like:
    -Jonathan. Not his story, but because I love Wbanguna and it makes me sad to see him so miserable.
    -Cordelia/Wesley. I like both of them, but I only see Wesley in the library and that makes him pretty much a teacher, and teacher/student romances can squick me out. I'm still waiting to make a final decision on them.
    -Xander. This one isn't actually about him as a character, but how his character was treated by the writers. He grew in The Zeppo and this episode didn't take that into account at all. He uses his assignment to prey on girls. We've seen him willing to give his life to save people and here, nothing. And then, when he only has seconds left until what he believes will be a bloody mass murder, he gets distracted by jello (which, incidentally, I was eating during this episode). I understand it sets up the conclusion for what was the catalyst for most of this episode, but, come on, he doesn't deserve that and the intended comedy of the scene just didn't work for me because of it.

  48. fantasylover120 says:

    Yeah, there's a definite tonal clash in this ep. I sort of feel they were maybe writing this when Columbine happened and then realized the really bad timing (hence why they still postponed the airing of the ep) and thus the feeling that this is two seperate stories.
    Daily Buffy Quotable
    "I don't know, I usually enjoy lameness. This is just leaving me cold."-Oz
    "You're a very complex guy, aren't you?"-Oz
    "I have to show support. He's needy."-Willow
    "She studied. Was I suppose to study?"-Xander's thoughts
    Buffy: God, Xander is that all you think about? Xander: Actually…bye.
    "Excuse me, can you hear me thinking in here? If so I can go out in the hall."-Wesley
    "Oh please, like shame is something to be proud of."-Cordelia
    "I was just wondering if you were planning on killing a whole bunch of people tomorrow? It's for the yearbook."-Cordelia
    "I had him in my grasp! Slippery weasel."-Willow
    "I don't see this ending with logic."-Buffy

  49. Coghead says:

    "What, are you kidding, he's like three feet tall!"

    In the words of the Ninth Doctor… "And with that one sentence, you just lost all right to speak to me."

    I HATE that line with a passion, and I don't know why it was supposed to be funny. It wasn't. It's NOT, okay? The hero of the show makes a connection to somebody who's bullied and ignored, and knows he feel that way enough to want to kill himself, and then she just TOSSES HIM AWAY again because of what he looks like. I raged at this so hard when I was a kid, and now I'm raging even more.

    I don't know what Joss was trying to say with that 'joke'. It's cruel, and it's bordering on out of character.

    Be vg jbhyq or, vs Wbanguna rire tbg nalguvat ohg syrrgvat zbzragf sebz Ohssl naq gur Fpbbovrf. Gur raq fprar bs "Fhcrefgne", naq uvz tvivat Ohssl gur njneq ng gur cebz, ner fb zhpu zber urnegoernxvat va uvaqfvtug. V fgvyy erzrzore uvf fcrrpu gb Naqerj nobhg qbvat tbbq whfg gb qb tbbq, rira vs ur'f arire sbetvira… tbq vg jnf yvxr fbzrguvat bhg bs NgF… naq gura ur whfg trgf xvyyrq yvxr ur jnf abguvat.

    Pubpx hc Wbanguna jvgu Snvgu va gur "Ivyynvaf gung pbhyq unir orra RSSBEGYRFFYL fnirq ol gur Fpbbovrf abg orvat n shpxvat pyvdhr" pbyhza. Guvf vf jul Natry Vairfgvtngvbaf zrnaf fb zhpu zber gb zr… ABOBQL trgf vtaberq ol gurz. Urycvat gur urycyrff. Vfa'g gung jung Ohssl fubhyq or tbvat sbe nsgre gung fcrrpu?


    • Coghead says:

      CF – V-V'z fhqqrayl fuvccvat Wbanguna/Snvgu.


    • @AnFaolain says:

      Vg jbhyqa'g or bhg bs punenpgre sbe Frnfba 7 Ohssl gur Grzcyne Fynlre.


      • Coghead says:

        Hetu, tbbq cbvag.

        "Frr guvf fpnerq tvey jub whfg xvyyrq urefrys? Shpx ure. V'z gur obff naq lbh nyy arrq gb yvfgra gb zr naq nyfb abg xvyy lbhefryirf yvxr n ohapu bs juvaref. V'ir pregnvayl arire juvarq nobhg nalguvat va zl ragver yvsr, fb qba'g lbh fgneg abj. Url, jul ner lbh xvpxvat zr bhg? JUNG UNIR V QBAR GB QRFREIR GUVF?"

        Frnfba frira, shpx…

    • arctic_hare says:

      FB ZHPU SHPXVAT JBEQ VG'F EVQVPHYBHF. Guvf vf LRG NABGURE ERNFBA V cersre NgF: gur ynpx bs pyvdhrvfuarff. Gurer'f n qrsvavgr srryvat bs snzvyl nzbat gur pber zrzoref bs Natry Vairfgvtngvbaf, ohg gurl arire fuhg nalbar bhg be tbg pyvdhrl gur jnl gur Fpbbovrf qvq. Naq gur qbvat tbbq whfg gb qb tbbq, ertneqyrff bs rire trggvat sbetvira… NNNNU V UNIR FB ZHPU YBIR SBE GUNG FBEG BS GUVAT. Vg whfg fcrnxf gb zr, bxnl? V xrrc fnlvat gung NgF vf zber gurzngvpnyyl fngvfslvat gb zr, naq vg'f obgu orpnhfr bs gur funqrf bs terl, naq orpnhfr bs gur jubyr gurzr bs "gurer vf ab erqrzcgvba, whfg qb tbbq sbe gur fnxr bs qbvat tbbq". Onfvpnyyl Natry'f jubyr fcrrpu va Rcvcunal. Fb ornhgvshy.

      • Coghead says:

        *uvtu svir* CERNPU VG! Erjngpuvat NgF frnfba bar, naq gur qvssrerapr vf nyernql VAFNAR. Qb lbh erzrzore gur raq fprar bs, hz, "Cnegvat Tvsgf", V guvax? Jrfyrl'f svefg rcvfbqr, cbfg-Qblyr? Natry naq Pbeql fgbc uvz sebz yrnivat naq tvir uvz oernxsnfg… naq Jrf vf whfg fb UNCCL gb or gurer. V xabj gung vs Grnz Natry unq orra ercynprq ol gur Fpbbovrf gurer, gurl jbhyq unir yrg Jrfyrl jnyx bhg gur qbbe naq bhg vagb gur pbyq whfg orpnhfr. Naq vg jbhyq or cynlrq sbe ynhtuf.

        Abar bs gubfr crbcyr arrqrq n ernfba gb uryc bguref, ab znggre jung gurl ybbxrq yvxr. Fubeg, gnyy, oynpx, juvgr, uhzna, be fcvxrl-urnqrq guvat… gur "Rcvcunal" fcrrpu vf zl znagen va yvsr.

        Wbanguna orybatrq va YN. Ur naq Jrf jbhyq unir tbggra nybat terng. ;_;

        • arctic_hare says:

          Nterrq fb uneq jvgu rirelguvat. Gubhtu, cyrnfr qba'g hfr gur jbeq "vafnar" ba guvf fvgr. Ohg bgurejvfr, fb zhpu jbeq. Gur NV grnz jbhyq'ir orra noyr gb uryc Wbanguna, gur jnl gurl urycrq fb znal bgure crbcyr. Orpnhfr yvxr lbh fnvq, gurl qvqa'g arrq n ernfba gb uryc crbcyr bgure guna vg orvat gur evtug guvat gb qb. Juvpu vf n cuvybfbcul gung ernyyl erfbangrf jvgu zr, naq V oryvrir va. Gur pyvdhrvfuarff bs gur Fpbbovrf ohtf zr rira zber abj guna vg qvq lrnef ntb.

          • Coghead says:

            Agh, I'm so sorry! I reread what I wrote, like, three times before posting it, and I didn't even catch that. I've been trying to kick that out of my vocabulary for a while now, as somebody who knows what mental illness can be like. Urgh, I'm so annoyed with myself… it won't happen again, I promise!

            *hangs head*

            Nterrq ba gur zrffntr bs NgF. V srry yvxr Ohssl fxvegrq gur rqtr bs vg n srj gvzrf, arire ernyyl pbzzvggrq gb vg, naq gura whfg xvaqn qvfzvffrq vg nf gbb zhpu gebhoyr. Va n ybg bs jnlf, NgF srryf gb zr yvxr gur fubj Ohssl jnf zrnag gb tebj hc vagb… n fubj nobhg orvat na nqhyg, naq orvat n ureb. Naq vg nofbyhgryl fnirq zl yvsr. Jura V jnf n lbhat xvq tebjvat hc jvgu puebavp qrcerffvba, gelvat gb svther bhg jung gur cbvag bs vg nyy jnf, gur orfg guvat gung rire unccrarq gb zr jnf gurfr jbeqf:

            "Vs abguvat jr qb znggref… gura nyy znggref vf jung jr qb. Gur fznyyrfg npg bs xvaqarff pna or gur ovttrfg guvat va gur jbeyq."

            V qb ybir Ohssl, ohg abguvat va vg- ABGUVAT- pna gbhpu gung.

            • icy says:

              Gung fprar vf fb ornhgvshy vg fgvyy tvirf zr puvyyf. Fvapr jr’er gnyxvat nobhg Natry, gurer’f n ernyyl terng negvpyr urer nobhg Pbeqryvn jvgu fcbvyref guebhtu gur raq bs bs Natry gung rzobqvrf gung fnzr bhgybbx.

              Guvf dhbgr va cnegvphyne:”Gur wbl bs jngpuvat n punenpgre qrirybc bire n ahzore bs lrnef vf gur fvatyr zbfg cbjreshy guvat gung gryrivfvba pna vaqhpr va n ivrjre. Gb jngpu Pbeqryvn punatr sebz fbzrbar nf pyhryrff naq frysvfu nf ure gb fbzrbar gb jubz Gur Cbjref Gung Or gurzfryirf bjrq n snibe sbe freivprf eraqrerq vf fvzcyl oerngugnxvat gb orubyq. Fur qvqa’g trg gb Cbvag N gb Cbvag O jvgubhg znal punyyratrf nybat gur jnl. Ohg fur jrag guebhtu gurz jvgubhg ivrjvat gur jbeyq guebhtu pbyq, plavpny, frys-freivat rlrf, rvgure. Fur fnj gur jbeyq ng vgf jbefg, ohg arire fgbccrq gelvat gb znxr vg or vgf orfg.”

              • Coghead says:

                Gunax lbh fb zhpu sbe gung negvpyr! V'ir tbg n ybg bs orrs jvgu gur jnl Pbeqryvn'f fgbel jrag, ohg vg qbrfa'g artngr nal bs gur ernyyl njrfbzr fghss gung unccrarq orsber gur raq. Tbq, V pna'g jnvg gvyy Znex trgf ernyyl vagb Natry naq fgnegf frrvat gur jnl gurl nyy qrirybc… vs ur guvaxf ur'f n Pbeql sna ABJ! πŸ™‚

                • Karen says:

                  Gou, V guvax cneg bs gur ernfba gung NgF vf npghnyyl zl yrnfg snibevgr Jurqba cebwrpg vf qhr gb ragveryl gb ubj ur gerngrq Pbeqryvn (naq Punevfzn). HTU. V whfg pnaabg trg bire vg. Ohg ba gur fhowrpg bs Pbeqryvn, unir lbh ernq guvf rffnl ba ure?

                  Vg'f n ernyyl oevyyvnag ybbx ng ure jubyr wbhearl.

                  • Coghead says:

                    Jbj. Whfg jbj. Gunax lbh FB ZHPU sbe gung zrgn, vg'f tbetrbhf! Natry vf bar bs zl nofbyhgr snibevgr guvatf rire, ohg Pbeqryvn'f qrenvyzrag (naq frnfba sbhe va trareny) arire snvy gb znxr zr jnag gb xvyy fbzrguvat. Rira nf n xvq V nyjnlf jbeevrq nobhg gur vzcyvpngvbaf nobhg NgF' srznyr punenpgref naq gurve gerngzrag, ohg fbzrubj V arire rira znqr gur yvax orgjrra gur guerr zbfg cevznel bs gurz nyy qlvat "tvivat ovegu". Gur fubj'f traqre vffhrf, rfcrpvnyyl va pbzcnevfba gb Ohssl, unir nyjnlf enaxyrq. Naq frevbhfyl, Pbeql qrfreirq fb zhpu orggre.

                    Vg fhpxf jura fbzrguvat fb vzcbegnag gb lbh nyfb unf guvatf gung ernyyl bssraq lbh. Yvxr gur svefg gvzr V ernyvmrq gur ceboyrzf jvgu Knaqre… πŸ™

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      Lrnu, V xabj jung lbh zrna ba gung ynfg bar. πŸ™ Zl srryvatf ba NgF ner rrevyl, rrevyl fvzvyne gb gubfr bs gur nhgube bs gung cnegvphyne rffnl (jub unf jevggra n gba bs bgure njrfbzr barf gbb): fb zhpu ybir sbe gur fubj, naq Pbeqryvn va cnegvphyne, ohg OBL UBJQL YBBX NG GUBFR CEBOYRZNGVP VFFHRF naq NYY GUR ENTR ng ure qrenvyzrag. Xabjvat gung Wbff qvq vg orpnhfr ur unq crefbany vffhrf jvgu Punevfzn Pnecragre whfg znxrf vg rira jbefr. V unir n fcrpvny ybnguvat sbe uvz onfrq whfg ba gung.

                    • Coghead says:




                      ~zl jbeyq vf pehzoyvat, negvp uner~


                    • arctic_hare says:

                      V qba'g erzrzore gur rknpg fgbel, ohg V guvax vg unq fbzrguvat gb qb jvgu ure orvat certanag VEY ng gur gvzr naq gurl unq gb nqwhfg gur fgbelyvar, naq V oryvrir ur jnf cvffrq bss ng ure naq fur ungrq jung gurl qvq. V qba'g oynzr ure.

                    • Coghead says:

                      Gung'f ubeevoyr. ;____;

            • @Ivana2804 says:

              Vs bayl Natry rire npghnyyl yvfgrarq gb uvf bja nqivpr…

              V zhpu cersre Ohssl gb Natry, naq gur snpg gung Ohssl npghnyyl fgvpxf gb gung vqrny jvgubhg rkcerffvat vg, zhpu zber guna Natry qvq, vf whfg bar bs gur ernfbaf jul.

              Ohssl vf gur bar jub pna'g fgnaq gur vqrn bs pbyyngreny qnzntr naq 'whfg nabgure obql', 'cnffre-ol pnhtug va gur fubbgvat'. Natry vf gur thl jub jvyy zheqre na vaabprag zna naq znxr nabgure zna oryvrir ur'f n puvyq nohfre, whfg gb chg uvf tenaq cyna ng jbex.

              Naq guvf vf jul V frr Ohssl nf n fubj nobhg orvat n ureb, naq Natry nf n fubj nobhg orvat na nagv-ureb jub'f gelvat gb or n ureb ohg whfg pna'g.

              • Coghead says:

                V'z n ovg ng n qvfnqinagntr urer, orpnhfr V'ir frra Natry frireny gvzrf naq nz bayl whfg abj erjngpuvat Ohssl. Fb V qba'g jnaan fnl gbb zhpu V'z abg dhnyvsvrq gb fcrnx nobhg lrg, naq n ybg bs zl sehfgengvba pbzrf sebz gur snpg gung juvyr Natry jnf urycvat zr guebhtu fbzr qnex gvzrf, Ohssl jnf tvivat zr fbzr bs gur zbfg bssrafvir fgbelyvarf V'ir rire unq gb fhssre guebhtu. ("Va guvf rcvfbqr, yrg'f jngpu bhe urebvar ghea vaivfvoyr naq pbzzvg encr! Arkg rcvfbqr, bhe bgure urebvar zvaq encrf ure cnegare! Frnfba svanyr, zber encr! Ner lbh univat sha lrg?" ;_;) V'z abg fnlvat Ohssl'f abg n ureb, V whfg qba'g erzrzore gur YNGRE frnfbaf bs gur fubj orvat NOBHG orvat n ureb. Frnfbaf 2/3 ner, juvpu vf jul V ybir gurz gb qrngu; V zbfgyl zvffrq gurz qhevat zl svefg jngpu.

                Ng gur raq bs gur qnl, znlor Ohssl vf nobhg yvsr nf n ureb, juvyr Natry vf nobhg urebvfz nf n yvsrfglyr? Vg'f qvssvphyg gb ernyyl pbzcner gurz, obgu orpnhfr gurl'er fb qvssrerag naq fb fvzvyne va gurve zrffntr. Ohg Natry, n fgbel nobhg qribgvba gbjneqf urycvat crbcyr, rira vs lbh qba'g qrfreir gb trg gur punapr… n fgbel nobhg RIRELBAR univat inyhr, rira gur guvatf va gur qnex naq gur qveg…

                Jryy, V pna'g vzntvar gung fubj raqvat na rcvfbqr yvxr guvf bar. Vg pbhyqa'g rira zbpx Jrfyrl'f areqvarff sbe irel ybat. Whfg fnlva'. :/ (rffnl bire yby)

                • Karen says:

                  V'z cerggl zhpu gur bccbfvgr jvgu ertneqf gb OgIF if NgF. V'ir bayl frra Natry nyy gur jnl guebhtu bapr. yby. Gur svefg gvzr V jnf jngpuvat vg, V tbg gbjneqf gur raq bs frnfba 3, naq jnf phevbhf gb frr jurer guvatf jrer urnqrq, fb V ybbxrq vg hc ba jvxvcrqvn, fnj jung unccrarq jvgu Pbeql va frnfba 4 naq jnf yvxr "YBY. ABCR." naq V sybhaprq. V bayl tbg nebhaq gb fhpxvat vg hc naq svavfuvat gur fubj n srj zbaguf ntb.

                  Naq nf zhpu nf V npxabjyrqtr gur ceboyrzf jvgu Ohssl va frnfba 6, Ohssl'f fgehttyr jvgu qrcerffvba vf n fgbelyvar gung unf erfbangrq jvgu zr zber gung whfg nobhg nal bgure fgbel V'ir rire frra nf n GI fubj.

                  V jbhyq fnl gung Ohssl VF irel zhpu nobhg orvat n ureb. Vg'f nobhg gur ribyhgvba bs n ureb. Vg'f nobhg jung vg zrnaf gb unir qrfgval guehfg hcba lbh naq vg'f nyfb nobhg tebjvat hc. V xabj n ybg bs crbcyr cersre frevrf 1-3 gb gur yngre frnfbaf bs Ohssl, ohg V cersre gur yngre frnfbaf. Gb zr gur yngre frnfbaf ner nyy nobhg Ohssl fgehttyvat jvgu orpbzvat na nqhyg. Natry vf nobhg PUBBFVAT gb svtug gur tbbq svtug. Ohssl vf nobhg jung bar qbrf jura vg'f nyernql pubfra sbe lbh.

                  • Coghead says:

                    Jryy qnza, abj lbh'ir tbggra zr npghnyyl rkpvgrq nobhg Ohssl'f shgher ntnva! V'z jnqvat guebhtu frnfba sbhe abj,(Nqnz, Evyrl; cyrnfr trg bss zl fperra…) qrnyvat jvgu gur qvfnccbvagzrag bs vg abg orvat arneyl nf sha nf vg jnf jura V jnf n xvq… V jnfa'g ernyyl ybbxvat sbejneq gb gur erfg, ohg nyy guvf gnyx nobhg vg unf erzvaqrq zr ubj havasbezrq zl srryvatf nobhg gur fubj ernyyl ner. Nf fbzrobql jubfr qrnyg jvgu qrcerffvba orsber, V guvax V'yy inyhr gung fgbelyvar zhpu orggre nf na nqhyg.

                    Frr, vg'f shaal, pbzcnevat gur gjb frevrf yvxr guvf unf znqr zr ernyvmr ubj gurl, ng yrnfg ba gur fhesnpr, xvaqn pbzr ng gur rknpg fnzr vqrnf sebz bccbfvat natyrf. Yvxr gurl fgneg fbzrjurer frcrengrq naq zrrg va gur zvqqyr. V'z ernyyl rkpvgrq gb pbagenfg gur gjb abj! πŸ™‚

                    ("Ur'f yvxr guerr srrg gnyy!" vf fgvyy greevoyr. Ohg gura ntnva fb vf jung gurl qvq gb Pbeql, aez. -_-)

                    • Karen says:

                      V ERNYYL yvxr frnfba 4. Yvxr V qvqa'g ba zl svefg jngpu guebhtu naq V guvax gung vg'f frnfba nep vf ernyyl fho cne. OHG V ybirq gung gur fubj rkcyberq Ohssl'f genafvgvba gb pbyyrtr naq gur jnlf va juvpu gung pna or ernyyl ebhtu fbzrgvzrf.

                      Frnfba 4 unf fbzr bs zl SNIBEVGR rcvfbqrf ("Uhfu", "Cnatf", "Fbzrguvat Oyhr", "Erfgyrff") naq hasbeghangryl fbzr bs zl yrnfg snibevgr ("Jurer gur Jvyq Guvatf Ner"), fb vg'f ernyyl n zvkrq ont sbe zr. Ohg V yvxr vg n ybg orggre abj guna V qv gur svefg gvzr V jngpurq vg.

                      Naq gur ernfba gung Ohssl'f fgehttyr jvgu qrcerffvba erfbangrf jvgu zr fb zhpu vf orpnhfr gur jnl vg znavsrfgf jvgu ure vf hapbzsbegnoyl pybfr gb ubj vg znavsrfgf jvgu zr. Yvxr gur jnl fur pybfrf urefrys bss sebz ure sevraqf naq ratntrf va qrfgehpgvir/rfpncvfg orunivbe naq fuvexf ure erfcbafvovyvgvrf? Lrnu. Orra gurer, qbar gung.

                    • Coghead says:

                      V whfg svavfurq "Jurer gur Jvyq Guvatf Ner". Vg'f gur bayl guvat bgure guna "Orre Onq" gung V ss'q cnegvnyyl guebhtu. Fvatvat Tvyrf jnf jbegu vg nyy, gubhtu!

                      Fb sne, V'z pbasyvpgrq ba gur pbyyrtr guvat. Yvxr… ba bar unaq, V guvax gurl qvq n terng wbo fubjvat gur fgehttyrf naq gur jnl gung uvtu fpubby sevraqf ortva gb rnpu svaq gurzfryirf naq qevsg vagb gurve bja jbeyqf va gur cebprff. Knaqre'f znantvat uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu Naln naq gelvat gb fhccbeg uvzfrys, Jvyybj'f tbvat qrrcre vagb zntvp naq Gnen, Ohssl'f tbg Evyrl naq Fynlvat naq fghss… V yvxr gung. Ohg ng gur fnzr gvzr, gur fubj ybfrf znffvir nzbhagf bs fcnexntr ol univat gur tnat tb gurve frcrengr jnlf n ovg. Abg gb zragvba vg xrrcf sbphfvat ba gur Evyrl/Nqnz/Vavgvngvir fghss juvpu vf whfg… whfg… :V

                      Gur Snvgu gjb cnegre vf gur svefg gvzr vg ernyyl sryg yvxr Ohssl ntnva gb zr fvapr gur fpubby oyrj hc. V qba'g zvaq gur qvssrerapr, V whfg jnag n yvggyr zber "Uhfu" (fdhrr!) naq n yvggyr yrff "Tbbqolr, Vbjn." (Evyrl, qrne, lbh pna'g pneel na rcvfbqr…)

                      V… pnaabg frrz gb glcr n fznyy cbfg sbe gur yvsr bs zr. πŸ™

                  • arctic_hare says:

                    Unun, gung'f rknpgyl jung V yvxr nobhg Natry'f cerzvfr, V yvxr gur gurzrf bs pubbfvat gb svtug gur tbbq svtug naq urycvat crbcyr naq qbvat tbbq guvatf whfg gb qb tbbq guvatf naq nyy gung wnmm. Vg'f fbzrguvat gung ernyyl erfbangrf jvgu zr.

                    • Coghead says:

                      This too! ^_^

                    • Karen says:

                      Lrnu, V ernyyl yvxrq gur cerzvfr bs Natry gbb. Ohg V nyfb whfg yvxr Ohssl'f vaqvivqhny wbhearl.

                      Ohg V nz sberire ovggre nobhg jung Wbff qvq gb Pbeqryvn naq Punevfzn, fb OgIF vf nyjnlf tbvat gb or n zber rawblnoyr fubj sbe zr. yby. Znlor jura V trg zber gvzr naq ~qvfgnapr~ sebz frnfba 4 bs Natry (juvpu V bayl jngpurq sbe gur svefg gvzr yvxr 5 zbaguf ntb fvapr V sybhaprq sebz Natry jura V jnf svefg jngpuvat nsgre V urneq jung unccrarq jvgu Pbeql), V'yy srry zber nssrpgvba gbjneqf vg. Ohg evtug abj V'z whfg znq naq vg'f xvaq bs gnvagrq gur erfg bs gur fubj sbe zr.

    • Gorimek says:

      It is a crude way of putting it, but I don't see why Buffy is obliged to go to the prom with someone she isn't attracted to?

      I don't think she owes Jonathan anything. She did save his life already.

      Buffy definitely has enough of her own problems to deal with, without trying to also solve Jonathan's. Which – not incidentally, I think – is the message of the episode!

      • arctic_hare says:

        She's not obliged to go to the prom with him, but the dismissive tone to her comment about his height just seems so cruel and insensitive to me after all that was said in the clock tower.

        • Coghead says:

          It took me five minutes to type a much longer version of that. Thank you, that's exactly it. *high five again* πŸ™‚

      • Coghead says:

        No, I get what you meant. I didn't mean to go all Nice Guy here, and I certainly don't think Buffy should have gone out with him just because he was crushing on her. All I meant was that there's a deeply cruel and unthinking manner behind Buffy's 'joke' there, and after everything she's been through with the telepathy and with Jonathan, it's just… jarring.

        The question isn't whether she OWES Jonathan; that's arbitrary and pointless. (You don't need a reason to help people/not mock them/be there for them.) The question is… okay, here's somebody desperate and alone, and I'm the only one who's given them a leg up in the world. What do I do with that power? A hero would use it to encourage Jonathan to grow, the way Willow and even Giles have, and make sure he gets help and relationships of his own. BUFFY decides to go right back to ignoring and even PICKING on him, like everyone else.

        I dunno what the message of the episode is supposed to be. Ideally, I'd think it would be about opening up and offering a helping hand, because deep down, no matter what, EVERYBODY is looking for one. I guess you could take a self-sufficiency message away from it, but I dunno. This show tries very hard to show that even the strongest of loners need a support system. Jonathan certainly could use one. Buffy could provide it with a simple, "Hey, I'm the Slayer, these are the Scoobies."

        I'm ranting here, but do you get what I mean? It's not so much that Jonathan deserves her romantic attention, so much as that as a human being in pain, he deserves a friend. He doesn't get one. I'm angry about it. πŸ™

        • arctic_hare says:

          Well said. I don't think they should've gone to prom if she wasn't into him, but she should've reached out to him instead of going back to "lol he's so short" right after he said that he felt that everyone thought he was a "short idiot". Everyone deserves a friend.

        • Gorimek says:

          As you can see in the dialog below, Buffy actually *has* been checking up on him and has been supportive up to a point. Her crude protest only comes when Giles suggests she take him to the prom as a pity date.

          The "message" I see is that we're all in a lot of pain. That doesn't mean that your pain isn't real or important, just that everyone else is probably in a similar level of pain.

          A somewhat comforting side of that is that even though you probably think your suffering is uniquely bad, you're most likely no worse off than your average fellow traveller through life. A less comforting, but equally true side, is that you can't expect someone else to solve your problems for you, since they're quite busy with their own.

          Your interpretation of "it's a tough life, let's help each other out", is also valid. You can think of these things in many ways, which I think is part of the beauty of these stories..

          GILES: How are you?

          BUFFY: Loving the quiet. Nobody in here but me.

          GILES: Jonathan? How's he?

          BUFFY: Pretty crappy. His parents are freaking. He got suspended. And toting a piece to school, not exactly winning him a place with the in-crowd. But, I think he's dealing.

          GILES: Well, it's good of you to check on him.

          BUFFY: Well, it's nice to be able to help someone in a non-slaying capacity. Except, he's starting to get that look, you know, like he's gonna ask me to Prom.

          GILES: Well, it would probably be good for his self-esteem, if you…

          BUFFY: Oh come on! What am I, Saint Buffy? He's like three feet tall!

          GILES: I'm glad to see you've recovered from your psychic encounter more or less intact.

          • Coghead says:

            Very well said as well! Pretty much agreed on all points; it's been awhile since I've seen the episode and I forgot about everything leading up to it. But I stand by what I said, especially about the jab at his height. Zbfg bs zl ivgevby er: Wbanguna naq gur Fpbbovrf vf rirelguvat nsgre guvf, naq gur trareny pyvdhrfuarff bs gurz nyy. Gung yvar vf n cerphefbe sbe n ybg bs guvatf V ybngur nobhg Ohssl. (frr: 'guvf tvey jub xvyyrq urefrys jnf jrnx' fcrrpu)

    • @Ivana2804 says:

      And I just don't get the resentment of Buffy for not wanting to go out to the Prom with Jonathan as Giles suggested? How is that 'tossing him aside'?

      BUFFY Well, it's nice to be able to help someone in a non-slaying capacity. Except, he's starting to get that look, you know, like he's gonna ask me to Prom.
      GILES Well, it would probably be good for his self-esteem, if you…
      BUFFY Oh come on! What am I, Saint Buffy? He's like three feet tall!

      She basically said she was concerned he would get romantic ideas, and then Giles suggests she should make him her date to the Prom?! Which is actually really gross, IMO – the idea that a woman is supposed to act romantic with a guy she's not attracted to just out of pity and to boost his self-esteem. She had absolute right to answer no – it's not the best wording, but the basic idea is right, why should she go out with someone she's not attracted to, and make the Prom all about boosting a guy's self-esteem rather than enjoying that night for herself?

      • arctic_hare says:

        I think it's the wording of it that bothers me, that the writers chose to go with an insult to his height rather than merely saying "he's not my type" or pointing out to Giles that that's actually a shitty idea from all angles. Especially right after he was so pained about being seen as a "short idiot".

        • Coghead says:

          Once again; words right from my mouth.

          The problem isn't that she wouldn't go out with him just because he liked her (which IS intensely gross) but it's that she laughed off the idea in the cruelest way possible; contributing to a cycle that drove Jonathan to suicide. Its counter to everything the clocktower speech was about, and it's just plain mean.

    • Coghead says:

      I can't believe I sparked so much debate. Th-this was only the second thing I posted.

      Hold me, I'm scared… D:

    • I *think* the idea is to show that Buffy is the hero but still has a *lot* of shortcomings. Kind of like Cordelia's ethnic-stereotyping remarks in "Inca Mummy Girl" were designed to show her negatively. Is that suffici
      ent reason?

      • Coghead says:

        I think that would be! It just bothered me a lot, and I had to rage about it. :/

        V thrff gur qvssrerapr vf gung Pbeql pyrneyl tebjf cnfg ure snhygf, juvyr V'z abg pbaivaprq Ohssl rire ernyyl qrnyf jvgu gurz shyyl. Ohg gura ntnva, V'z abg fher nalobql va Wbffirefr vf nyybjrq gb… Yvxr V fnvq, vg whfg obgurerq zr. :

  50. IceBlueRose says:

    I know that Giles walking into the tree at the end of the episode is funny but I actually laugh even harder at the guys walking behind Buffy and Giles. When Buffy says that, the look on the guy's face as he turns towards her and Giles is hilarious.

    Just a quick comment since I'm at work and the calls just keep on coming! (Took me like 45 minutes just to type this one, lol.)

  51. kte says:

    In my first viewing of this episode, when it originally aired, I had no idea that Jonathon had been in so many other episodes. I was very unobservant…just like the rest of the Sunnydale High student body.

  52. monkeybutter says:

    Though I know it's down to subjective taste, I've gotta disagree with you. The conversation with Jonathan is the cathartic moment of the episode. Pain and fear and loneliness are the villains. I think having serious conflict after that point would have undermined that message, and if the entire episode had been played straight, it would have been unwatchable for a much longer period of time than it was. I think there was a perfect mixture of humor and seriousness throughout, and it's what makes me enjoy this episode (though there are a couple of cringeworthy lines.)

    I'll agree with you on the point of the humor in DH, though. Super distracting, especially the unintentional stuff.

  53. Kari18212 says:

    Fb, Jvyybj vagreebtngvat Wbanguba jnf irel vagrerfgvat univat frra gur jubyr frevrf. Jura fur gnyxf nobhg ubj 'jr' nyy unir snagnfvrf nobhg orvat cbjreshy naq univat crbcyr cnl nggragvba gb 'hf,' V'z gbea nobhg ubj gb gnxr vg. Lrf, hfvat 'jr' naq 'hf' vf fbzrjung n jnl gb gel naq fubj uvz gung fur haqrefgnaqf naq fubhyq bcra hc gb ure naq vg pbhyq nyy or na npg. Ohg, tvira jung unccraf yngre, jnagvat cbjre naq gb unir crbcyr cnl nggragvba gb ure vf qrsvavgryl fbzrguvat Jvyybj fgehttyrf jvgu. V thrff V xvaqn jvfu fur unq cnvq n yvggyr zber nggragvba gb jung ure cbvag jnf gb uvz.

    Nyfb, V srry yvxr guvf vf gur rcvfbqr jurer Wbanguba'f erny 'nep' ortvaf (naq ubj nznmvat vg vf gung ur unf uvf bja punenpgre nep?? Ybir guvf fubj). Orsber guvf, ur jnf whfg n enaqbz xvq va gur onpxtebhaq jub bppnfvbanyyl tbg gb fnl n pbhcyr bs yvarf be trg guerngrarq ol fbzrbar. Ohg urer lbh frr gur ortvaavat bs uvf graqrapl gb znxr uhtr trfgherf gb gel naq trg crbcyr'f nggragvba naq gurl hfhnyyl unir ernyyl greevoyr pbafrdhraprf. Naq, nf vf gur Jurqbairefr jnl, ur yrneaf gung guvf vf gur jebat jnl gb tb nobhg guvatf bayl gb qvr vzzrqvngryl nsgre πŸ™ Qrfcvgr gur snpg gung vg'f cerggl qrcerffvat, V nz FB rkpvgrq sbe Znex gb trg gurer. Fb hacercnerq πŸ™‚

    • Coghead says:

      Terng cbvag nobhg Wbanguna'f "ovt trfgher" nqqvpgvba… jr nyy xabj fbzrobql jub gevrf gb qb gung bar cresrpg guvat gb znxr rirelguvat bxnl. Uryy, jr'ir nyy ORRA gung fbzrobql.

      V unir terng qvssvphygl qrnyvat jvgu uvf qrngu fprar. Vg'f Cnffvbaf yriry pehry, rfcrpvnyyl sbe n punenpgre jub jnf vtaberq uvf jubyr nep. V unir gur jrveqrfg srryvat Wbanguna jbhyq arire unir snyyra gung sne vs vg unq orra Natry Vairfgvtngvbaf vafgrnq bs gur Fpbbovrf; V pna whfg vzntvar uvz orpbzvat nabgure rneyl Jrfyrl glcr.

      Cbbe, cbbe thl… *fbo*

      • Kari18212 says:

        V pna'g gnxr nyy gur perqvg ba Wbanguba'f 'ovt trfgher' guvat, V urneq vg ba gur pbzzragnel sbe "Pbairefngvbaf jvgu Qrnq Crbcyr" yby. Ohg va uvaqfvtug vg znqr fb zhpu frafr gung V jnf ernyyl vzcerffrq gurl unq pbagvahrq gb unir uvz gelvat gubfr ovt trfgherf nalgvzr ur jnf va na rcvfbqr nsgre guvf frnfba (nygubhtu Cebz xvaqn svgf gung nf jryy ohg trgf n cnff orpnhfr vg'f bar bs zl snibevgr guvatf bs nyy gvzr).

        Pbasrffvba: V unira'g frra nyy bs Natry V XABJ V XABJ V'Z N GREEVOYR OHSSL SNA. V xabj n ybg bs jung unccrarq, ohg V whfg arire ernyyl jngpurq. Guvf jvyy or trggvat svkrq jura Znex jngpurf gubhtu! Fb, V qba'g xabj rabhtu gb nterr be qvfnterr jvgu lbhe pbzzrag nobhg gur Fpbbol Tnat if gur Natry perj, ohg gur Fpbbovrf pna or cerggl boyvivbhf gb crbcyr bhgfvqr gur tnat juvpu vf hasbeghangr.

        Wbanguba'f qrngu qbrf znxr zr ng yrnfg grne hc rirel gvzr gubhtu. Fb pehry, juvpu zrnaf jr boivbhfyl fubhyq unir frra vg pbzvat πŸ™

        • Coghead says:

          Bu fanc, fbeel! V qvqa'g xabj! Pnershy nobhg fcbvyref; NgF vf bar bs zl snibevgr fubjf naq frrvat vg oyvaq vf fbzrguvat gb orubyq! πŸ™‚

          Lrnu, lbh'er qrsvavgryl evtug nobhg gur Fpbbovrf vtabevat crbcyr bhgfvqr gur pyvdhr. Vg'f irel ntteningvat, naq va Snvgu naq Wbanguna'f pnfr, jbeyq-raqvat. πŸ™

        • Karen says:

          yby. Qba'g srry yvxr n onq Ohssl sna sbe abg frrvat nyy bs NgF! V bayl svavfurq vg sbe gur svefg gvzr ynfg nhghza va fcvgr bs gur snpg gung V'ir orra n Ohssl sna sbe lrnef. V whfg sybhaprq zvqjnl guebhtu frnfba 3 ba zl svfg nggrzcg jngpuvat NgF orpnhfr V tbbtyrq fbzr fcbvyref gung V jnf abg cyrnfrq nobhg.

  54. Smurphy says:

    These comments are going to be fun.

    I don't think I ever saw this episode, which is a shame because it's brilliant. I am normally annoyed by non-arc episodes at this stage in the season but this one is kind of amazing.

  55. Smurphy says:

    Oh and WBANGUBA!!!

  56. Gorimek says:

    The thing Whedon does better that anybody else – most people don't ever try – is to mix deadly serious drama with side splitting comedy, and have both work AT THE SAME TIME. It's not supposed to be possible, but he just *does* it.

    This seems to be a show about mind reading and it's more or less hilarious consequences. And it is. But suddenly time stops and we have that magical scene in the clock tower. It is so profound and beautiful. Everything before was funny and dramatic in its own right, but it also prepares perfectly for telling us a deep truth about life.

    And this:
    “You know, I could have taken that by now.”
    “I know…”
    “I’d rather do it this way”

    This was the first Buffy episode I saw, due just to the Columbine induced postponement. Who knows, had that not happened I might not have gotten hooked.

    • UnstrungZero says:

      “You know, I could have taken that by now.”
      “I know…”
      “I’d rather do it this way”

      I love that, it shows that not everyone in Sunnydale is as clueless as they seem. Especially Jonathan, he's been around a LOT of the stuff goin on!

  57. threerings13 says:

    One of my favorite Buffy episodes, no doubt. It's really, hilariously funny, while adding characterizations to all the main characters (Cordelia's thoughts FTW), plus it deals with real high school issues without being cheesy or dismissive. It's super creepy to watch and know it was written right before Columbine. About how school shootings are "bordering on trendy?" Chills.

    But I really love that everything that plays out with Johnathan and Buffy's speech to him. As someone who talked people down from suicide professionally, she does a really good job.

    I agree with Mark that the lunchlady thing is a little WTF and the humor doesn't QUITE work there, but that's the only point in the episode that I find slightly off. I was marveling during my rewatch how funny the show manages to be, even while Buffy is racing to prevent a student in a belltower with a gun from opening fire.

  58. Erika says:

    I love this episode, a lot. I think they definitely could have made it more serious, but, ultimately, I like that they didn't. With everything else that's going on in the overall arc of the season, making such an intense episode that's not arc-centric (aka Faith/Mayor-filled) might have been distracting.
    Okay, but Mark, I have to ask… how strict is your definition of "shipping"? Because I "ship" everyone who I want to be together/like together/can see getting together. I can start "shipping" people a few minutes into an pilot! (though I usually change my mind in those cases… I shipped Mal/Zoe and then Mal/Kaylee in the first few minutes of Firefly. Yeah, I know. XD) When the two people make me squeal and jump around and cry and shout obscenities at the screen, then I call them an "OTP." And I multi-ship like there is no mañana. Am I the only one who has such a shipping problem? Is there a shipping rehab of some sort?!?!

  59. Hanna_the_Glam says:

    – I really, really love the fact that this episode takes us back into the high school atmosphere. The recurring minor characters like Jonathan, Larry (LARRY!), and Percy; plus the other teachers and students that get a bit of characterization adds something that has been missing for a while.

    – The last time I remember seeing the lunch lady was in 'Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered' when she was wielding a cleaver. Hmm.

    – Deadpan Angel = MOAR PLEASE.

    – Wesley, you are a very bad man. You should probably be spanked for an extended period of time. (I am a very bad woman.)

    – When I first saw this episode, this happened:

    Buffy: You had sex with GILES?! YOU HAD SEX WITH GILES?!
    Me: *thinking* Ha, I totally knew that, and I knew she was going to read it in her mother's mind! I am way too smart to be surprised by this show!
    Buffy: … TWICE?!
    Me: … touche. *mentally walks into tree*

  60. Alan713ch says:

    Hi everyone, my name is Alan, a lurker, and I have to say this episode is the one that told me that there is a whole world out there.
    I am from Mexico. 13 years ago, when this episode aired, I was barely eleven years old watching season 2 of Buffy. TV shows take at least one year to reach Mexico, or at least, they used to. I don't know anymore, having moved to the States to study a graduate degree (In Boulder, CO, which is why I am so excited that Denver might happen).
    So when it finally aired in Mexico, I watched it and told my mom about it. She knew about the Columbine incident, and thought that the episode was made BECAUSE of it. No weird coincidence or anything (in Mexico they aired them consecutively), so she had to explain me what had happened. There was me, 12 years old, trying to grasp the idea that someone was so lonely they had to kill themselves. And some more people too.
    To say that it was shocking is to try and keep it to a minimum. Suddenly there was more than just going to school and coming back home to do homework and play (I was kinda geeky… still am…): suddenly it was looking at everybody with new eyes, the fact that I didn't know what was going on with everybody and that somewhere else someone had killed people. And a TV show got affected by it.
    Now that I have rewatched it, I see all the little details that Mark points, but I think they were made on purpose: that those funny moments are interweaved between the critical ones because Buffy has no control on what thoughts she receives, and therefore no idea what will go through her mind. (Someone in The Zeppo mentioned that we see everything under Buffy's eyes, and I think this kinda agrees with it: we are supposed to feel like Buffy's mind, everything happening at once).
    I don't have that much to say. Only that from that day on, I knew a bigger world was out there, in a different sense. Yes, I already knew of other countries or such, but it was the first time I felt it touch me. And I have to thank Buffy for that.

    • Coghead says:

      That's beautiful! Thank you for sharing; it's amazing to me how much something like this can touch people. It goes back to a lot of what Mark said about censorship, and the way people used forms of expression to learn and deal with the realities of the world.

    • Alan: Thanks for your comments, good things come to many from this show. My daughter was also a fan back then, she was eight.

  61. WhiteEyedCat says:

    – Anyone watch Gilmore Girls? The director hired Danny Strong (Jonathan) for the role of Doyle because she was a fan of Buffy.

    – That random guy who thinks, "Seriously, one day my pants are going to fall right off." always makes me laugh for some reason.

    – Angel's deadpan, "I'm a funny guy." is hilarious.

    – Ha ha, Cordy says exactly what she's thinking, I love that about her.

    – I liked the balance of serious and humour, probably because I like humour more, so I'm always happy when a joke pops up, despite unusual timing. I might agree about Deathly Hallows, but I don't remember any funny moments in that movie? I just remember it as really dark and serious.

    • Coghead says:

      I had no idea Danny Strong was on Gilmore Girls! I stopped watching really early on, around the time the whole Qrna/Ebel/Wrffr guvat fgnegrq hc. Orpnhfr ybir gevnatyrf; hetu! πŸ™

      (rot13'd for Gilmore Girl spoilers, I guess…?)

    • Karen says:

      Danny Strong was also on a few episodes of Mad Men!

    • Alan713ch says:

      I watched Gilmore. A shame Lauren Graham never got an Emmy for it.

      And I have read somewhere that originally shooting guy was going to be someone else, and somebody asked Danny Strong if he wanted to do it, even though he had only done comedy so far. I am SO GLAD he said yes.

    • DonSample says:

      Danny has also gone on to become a major league writer in political dramas, starting with "Recount" about the 2000 election, and now with "Game Change" about the 2008 election.

  62. Binx says:

    Okay, here's my feeling on dark subject material and books/movies/shows: I love them, but I think they *need* bouts of humor and lightheartedness to be effectively dark. Like, I think if they're nothing but constant dark darkityness you sort of become desensitized to it and it's pretty one-note. But if there are a few moments of joking and sweetness and puppies then it makes the darkness stand out all the more and be all the more heart-wrenching and unsettling (this opinion is more related to the last 2 HPs and other things than "Earshot").

    For an example, this is what makes, say, Lord of the Rings so much more emotionally effective and rich to me than Game of Thrones. GoT is constant, unrelenting grimness and depression. So I just expect everything to suck for everyone, always, and it never "gets" me when it does. It's just another expected day of terribleness all around. With LOTR, when the characters are lost and starving and can't go on, I'm remembering them dancing and laughing and singing in the Shire, and there's such a huge contrast that it really hits you.

    IDK. That's my 2 cents on the "constant serious darkness" vs "light, happiness, and darkness" subject.

    • arctic_hare says:

      I agree. I don't do the whole "grimdark" (as I've seen it called) thing, I need stuff that breaks it up, at the very least. It just gets wearying after a while otherwise and I pull back and stop caring.

      • hpfish13 says:

        Yep, this is me too, I'm reading Feast for Crows and I've found myself not bothering to attempt getting attached to any new characters, because most likely they'll just die horrifically.

    • Dru says:

      I agree. This is why I never really got into ASOIAF, to be honest. And humour serves to highlight the grimness via contrast – it works on the same principle as pairing bright colours with dark/neutral ones, it makes their respective qualities stand out that much more.

    • Gorimek says:

      This is why I can't enjoy Battlestar Galactica. It is just Dead Serious all the time.

      Before Buffy I might have enjoyed that. Now I have better standards.

  63. robin_comments says:

    I don't have any tonal problems until the lunch lady reveal, because I'm used to the tragicomedy BtVS sensibility. But then that moment was so over-the-top silly that imo it went beyond and did come across to me as too far of a contrast.

    Usually with BtVS I feel like the wacky comedy elements are quippy and silly, but they still manage to walk the line of somewhat believable — they're wacky, but they could happen (like drunk Spike bursting into flames or Mr Trick having a favorite newspaper strip). But that lunch lady bit felt kind like satire we weren't supposed to take even a little seriously, which was jarring for me, especially against some of the previous seriousness.



    that said, spoilers for one of the things I do know:

    vg oernxf zl cbbe fuvccre urneg orpnhfr V xabj gung Wblpr qvrf (nygubhtu abg rknpgyl jura, fb uhfu, pngf.)

    • pica_scribit says:

      *uhtf* Gurer ner fbzr guvatf bar pnaabg cbffvoyl or cercnerq sbe, rira vs bar xabjf jura gurl ner pbzvat naq unf frra vg nyy orsber.

      (This won't spoil you, or probably anyone else, but just to be on the safe side….)

  65. 00guera00 says:

    I watched this episode for the first time a few weeks ago when I realized there was a Buffy episode I had somehow missed. (Hulu for some reason stuck it at the end of the Season Three and after I watched the finale I thought I was done and went on to 4 -_-)

    I loved this episode except for one thing. Why would they have Jonathon have a sniper rifle, beyond misdirection for the audience? I mean I was so focused on (Wbanguba jnf tbvat gb xvyy rirelbar…ubj vf guvf abg oebhtug hc va bgure rcvfbqrf?!) that when he says that of course he isn't going to kill anyone but himself, I was too busy going 'Wait…what? Why the hell do you have a rifle then? I mean, yeah sure it's possible to kill yourself with a rifle but it's not easy, why would you go with that choice?' and it kinda derailed my thoughts for the rest of the episode.

    And he gets suspended…suspended for bringing a loaded rifle to school. At my school, we had reminders during hunting season that you needed to make sure to get all the ammo out of your car before bringing it on campus because you could get expelled if it was found in your car. Just the ammo alone…

    • Binx says:

      Yeah, we had kids kicked out of school for bringing Tylenol and Midol (because you could be selling it or abusing it or using it as a cover-up for some other drug). Any and all medicine had to come with a doctor's note and be turned over to the nurse to manage it for you (meaning you had to come in her office and ask for it, then take it in front of her). Another kid was expelled for having a small pocket knife on his key chain. And another one for writing something about how the last day of school was going to be "the bomb" (which was taken as a literal terrorist threat).

      So yeah, I'm thinking, loaded sniper rifle? Not only expelled, but prison sentence.

    • Gorimek says:

      My explanation is that it's his dads rifle, and his dad simply doesn't have a more suicide friendly weapon to borrow.

      Just one of many imperfections in Jonathan's life.

    • jne says:

      I'm from Maine. When I was a kid, in in the 1970s, kids from age 4th grade on brought their guns to school during hunting season. They hunted before school and then walked to school. In my grammar school, the kids kept the guns in the back of the room. In 5th grade, they kept them in the coat room. I don't remember anyone asking kids to check for ammo. Kids also brought guns to school for the hunter safety and marksmanship classes.

  66. tardis_stowaway says:

    This episode is among my favorites, partly because it's inextricably linked in my mind with the time and place I saw it.

    I was a sophomore in high school when the Columbine massacre happened. That tragedy impacted the emotional climate in schools across the country, including mine. Media coverage demonized goths and loners. Some idiot(s) at my school figured out that they could use the paranoia of the administration to get out of class by calling in bomb threats, forcing the school to evacuate. (They also figured out how late in the day they had to hold the bomb threat to avoid having to make up lost class time with days added onto the school year. My Spanish III class was at Bomb Threat O'Clock.)

    I was upset about not getting to see an episode of Buffy, especially one so relevant to the lives of real teenagers, but I understood why they postponed it initially. However, the episode was postponed for far longer than I thought strictly necessary. I was aching to see this (and Tenqhngvba Qnl Cneg 2, which was also postponed).

    I was fortunate enough to see both postponed episodes before most of the country when they were screened over July 4th weekend at Dragon*Con. I don't know if the con had bootleg tapes from somewhere (had it aired overseas?) or if we were an officially sanctioned pre-screening, but the end result is I got to watch two hours of new Buffy packed into a too-small room with hordes of other enthusiastic fans. Watching something for the very first time with lots of other really excited people enhances the emotional experience, both the humor and the pathos. I would have enjoyed the group watch even with a mediocre episode, but for a powerful, funny, and relevant episode like Earshot that viewing became a treasured memory. When the episode ended with Giles walking into the tree, I think our laughter and applause was probably audible through a pretty sizable portion of the convention hotel.

    Buffy's speech in the tower is perfect. She tells Jonathan that what [she thinks] he's doing is wrong, but she's full of compassion. Her point about the pain and struggles that everyone faces, even the popular and the outwardly happy, was something I desperately needed to hear to help myself remember that I wasn't uniquely lonely. It helped humanize the people at other levels of the high school social strata when I felt like all I could see was my own misery. Buffy is not only strong and brave but occasionally even wise.

    I can see how the mixed tone could fail to float your boat, but for me it is exactly right for addressing a serious issue without falling into the trap of being an anvilicious Very Special Episode. I love Earshot.

    • Binx says:

      "Media coverage demonized goths and loners"

      Yeah, if I'm not mistaken, that's when most of the "save the children from black clothing, rock music, violent video games, and horror movies!" bullshit really and truly kicked in. I know we touched down on this a bit with "Gingerbread", but a little later down the road with Columbine is when I really recall the paranoia and finger-pointing and scape-goading coming out of the woodwork. Let's just say it was really, really not a good time to be Marilyn Manson – or anyone who even passingly enjoyed so much as one of his songs or didn't have a ton of friends, etc.

      As far as I'm concerned, there are basically two things that have happened in my lifetime that fucked up American society astronomically and irreparably: Columbine and 9/11. Can you guys imagine how much different America would be if just these two things hadn't happened? Talk about ripple effect.

      P.S. I think that in many ways Gingerbread is actually a follow-up to Earshot, and I really wish they would have aired in that order.

  67. Ridia says:

    One of the things I always remember about this ep is finding a transcript someone had done of it online before it finally aired in the US and just being so excited because, sure, I couldn't watch the episode until months later but…I had a script! I read the script for it before it aired, ooh, so scandalous. And nowadays if the same scenario happened the episode would've been online and downloadable in a million places half a day after the original intended airdate. Ah, how times change.

  68. sudden_eyes says:

    Tiny factoid. The actress who played the lunch lady in this episode, Wendy Worthington, popped up in the Joss Whedon-directed episode of "Glee," the one featuring Neil Patrick Harris. She was in the background auditioning for a part in "Les Mis" by singing the world's worst rendition of "Big Spender."

  69. quenstalof says:

    I bet the lunch lady wasn't even on their list. I thought they would mention that because it just goes to show she really was invisible as service workers like that often are.

    I've been annoyed in the past when they've not aired episodes because of news stories, but I think it was a good choice in this instance.

  70. pica_scribit says:

    I'm late to the party as usual (bloody night shift sleep schedule!), so everyone else has pretty much already covered anything I might say. Except I didn't see anyone else mentioning this. Did anyone else pick up on the Othello references being a parallel to Faith/Buffy/Angel, or was it just me? Jealousy, and Faith being like the dark half of Buffy herself, etc…?

    • Possum says:

      I was just scrolling through all the post trying to find out if someone else mentioned this before I did. It's really remarkable how much is revealed/simplified about Faith and Buffy in that one scene .
      I'm of the mind frame that Faith never wanted to be with Angel, and that she really had a thing for Buffy. That's a whole big discussion for another time but here are some of the quotes.

      BUFFY: "Jealousy!"
      TEACHER: "Buffy. Right. Very good. Jealousy clearly is the tool that Iago uses to undo Othello. But what's his motivation? What reason does Iago give for destroying his superior officer?"
      NANCY (V.O.): "Cassio has my place. Twix my sheets, he's done my office."
      BUFFY: "Well, he was passed over for promotion. Cassio was picked instead and people were saying that Othello slept with his wife."

      So Faith is supposed to be "The Slayer" but with Buffy around she just keeps getting pushed into the background, taken for granted. Passed over for promotion. Jealous that Angel is taking all of Buffy's attention.

      TEACHER: "There's something else at work here."
      BUFFY: "Well, he, um, he sort of admits himself that his motive are… spurious! He, um, he does things because he, he enjoys them. It's like he's not, he's not really a person. He's a, the dark half of Othello himself."

      Does Buffy not think of Faith as person, but just a projection of her own personality that can be ignored or killed off? At the same time, Faith is the only one that can understand Buffy, or Faith desperately wants Buffy to understand her. But after she kills the Finch, and then later how Buffy immediately thinks that the "whoever" killed the demon peddling The Books of Ascension had a party while doing it, Faith realizes that Buffy will never understand her so there is no going back to the white hats. The Mayor makes her feel good, the power makes her feel good, the position she has as the Mayor's #1 is the promotion she was searching for. It's everything Buffy has with Giles but Faith has it on the Dark Side. Buffy can't save Faith because she won't accept that part of herself exists.

  71. SecretGirl127 says:

    REMINDER, I"M NEW TO BUFFY…When I watchd this, I thought they wrote it as their respose to Columbine. I thought theyadded in the Jonathan scene because they felt they needed to "send a message to the kids" like tv shows sometimes do. I was surprised to read Mark's post and find that it was written before the incident and even more surprised that the held off airing it. I thought Mark's annoyance was going to be about a great show being forced by the network to air something with a forced message.

    • SecretGirl127 says:

      Also, Wesley is just creepy with Cordilia.I'm now glad that Mark jinxed him to die and I look forward the his impending doom.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Actually, Joss *does* own a time machine, and he uses it to send relevant messages like this one, or more often, to find out what will upset fans the most, and then go back in time to do exactly that.

    • robin_comments says:

      That's interesting! I can see how the episode would read differently if I didn't realize it had been written beforehand. I remember being SO FRUSTRATED that we wouldn't get the episode, and I think it actually DID air in maybe.. Canada? I have this memory of hardcore fans on message groups emailing and looking for bootlegs of the episode… The attitude of fans was people being pissed that it was held off the air and not worried about it being message-agy, and yet I can totally see how later on, without the context, the idea of the episode looks a little After School Special. πŸ™‚

  72. DonSample says:

    For a couple of years, I had a theory that if Danny Strong's name ever appeared at the beginning of an episode, Jonathan would die.

    This is the episode that invalidated that theory.

    Up to this point Jonathan has:

    – been a guy in line at the Bronze in the original (not aired) pilot
    – nearly been sucked dry by an Incan Mummy. (Inca Mummy Girl)
    – been Cordelia’s date after she swore off dating college guys. (Reptile Boy)
    – been taken hostage by a Turakan Assassin. (What’s My Line, Part II)
    – been attacked by one of the Bazore Offspring. (Bad Eggs)
    – actually entered the school library to look for a book. (Passion)
    – nearly been drowned in an ice bucket by some members of the swim team, and got even by peeing in the pool. (Go Fish)
    – been a guest at Buffy’s welcome home party when it got crashed by zombies. (Dead Man’s Party)
    – gotten between Buffy and Cordelia in their quests to become Homecoming Queen. (Homecoming)
    – been used by Harmony and her friends to taunt Cordelia after her breakup with Xander. (The Wish)
    – been talked out of committing suicide by Buffy (Earshot)

    • As Nikki Stafford pointed out in _Bite Me_, this is only what we've seen, how much worse ahs gone on off-screen. No wonder, when even the un-cool kids push him around, "Jonathan snaps."

  73. Harlock says:

    Thank you very much for the comment about the mind reading in Twilight Mark. I started rewatching the series along with your reviews and when I saw that scene I thought: "And just another thing which Buffy handles much much better, than Twilight".
    Actually I welcome every comparison you make between the two franchises because seriously: Almost everything that Twilight screwed up on, is done right or at least much much better in Buffy. The stalking, the complications of human/vampire relationship, the brooding male love interest actually having a reason to be gloomy, the mind-reading, the female protagonist being a strong character, actually having a plot and character development ect.
    what especially intruiged me about the mind reading in this episode (especially the part with Angel) was that Meyer totally wasted a good oportunity: Edward could've been plagued by his gift of mind reading, which in turn becomes his reason to become a loner even among his family, and it would've provided a better reason for his interest in Bella since he can be with her without getting mad from reading her mind all the time…well that and actually EXPLAINING why he can't read her mind. But no, instead he just finds it interesting that she's supposedly a braindead zombie who smells tasty.

  74. DonSample says:

    I'm a late comer to Mark Reads/Watches, only having come across these a couple of weeks ago for the first time (and starting by going back and reading through the whole Harry Potter series) so I've only read the last few Buffy reviews in real time, and I decided to get out my DVDs tonight and re-watch "Earshot" instead of just relying on my memory of it, and in doing so I was reminded of something that I haven't noticed Mark commenting on:

    Willow's hats!

    <img src=""&gt;

    Willow looked so dog-gone cute in her hats!

    • Coghead says:

      Bucket hat Willow <3

    • theDMG says:

      Welcome! I came upon the site with the massive, server-crashing influx that came with the Whedonesque link when he started up on Buffy. When the server wasn't crashed in that first week, I checked out all the Mark Watches for shows I've seen (Doctor Who, Firefly, Torchwood, Sherlock), so I know how it goes. Someday I'm going to have to go through the Mark Reads Harry Potter entries….as well as the Twilight even though I never have (and never will) read it.

  75. UnstrungZero says:

    Everyone else has pretty much covered my thoughts on this ep, and I've commented where applicable, but there's one other thing this made me think about. Uncomfortable and personal as it is.

    I went through years of being suicidally depressed, and my mental illnesses combined with unfortunate personal circumstances left me feeling nearly homicidal at times, not just suicidal. Especially towards my Dad when he left my Mom for another woman. It took a couple years to work through, and I haven't felt that way in nearly 10, but I still remember that feeling and feel ashamed for it. So when Jonathan says, aghast, "I could never hurt anyone"…. I can't help feeling "Damn. A fictional character is a better person than I was in the depths of my depression." Even though now I'm the same as him, the thing I fear most is hurting other people, it still reminds me that I wasn't always that way. πŸ™

    • That kind of stress can lead to many different things; people aren't necessarily better, just different. I'm glad you've worked through the worst of it. (Hell, I'm 56 and still a work in progreess, at best.)

      • UnstrungZero says:

        Thank you, I appreciate it. I can tell people that kind of thing all the time and believe it for them, but I'm my own worst critic. I can't believe it for me. But it helps to know other people do. πŸ™‚

    • notemily says:

      I actually think it's better to realize that you are capable of hurting people. If you go around saying "I could never hurt anyone," you might not notice when you actually do.

  76. wanderernotlost says:

    I find it interesting the humor distracts you from the seriousness of the episode, Mark. I get it, since misplaced humor does that for me, too, but I find that well-placed humor in reasonable amounts can make an episode (book/movie/whatever) even more serious. It doesn't break up the tension, it highlights just how tense everything is.

    I've always kind of thought this but was never able to put it into words until a creative writing class in college where my professor said, "If you want to make a tragic scene even more tragic, add a touch of humor. If you want to make a comedic scene even funnier, add a touch of sadness." It's like you can't really realize the depth of the seriousness until you see a touch of its opposite–of how NOT serious it has the potential to be. But perhaps this episode just overdid and misplaced the humor for you.

    Glad you still liked it–this is one of my favorites.

  77. Kevin says:

    Dear Mark,

    If I am not mistaken, it was Josh Whedon, and not a network executive, who made the decision not to air this comedy-drama about a high school massacre so soon after the Columbine tragedy. Not to protect anyone’s tender sensibilities, but because it would have been in poor taste.

    Humor is not just a distraction in a serious or grim story. It also provides perspective, or makes the attempt.
    I loved that Cordelia always says what is on her mind.



    • DonSample says:

      While he didn’t object to delaying the episode, he wasn’t happy with how long they delayed it.

      Naq gura gurer jnf gur qrynl sbe Tenqhngvba Qnl VV, nsgre Wbff pbzcyvrq jvgu gurve erdhrfg gb rqvg gur raqvat, When it did air on schedule in Canada, and Canadian fans started sending their tapes to their friends in the US, Joss was all for it, even saying that fans should go ahead and bootleg it.

      • Coghead says:

        Rqvg gur raqvat? Jung unq gb or punatrq? :/

        • Plactus says:

          V qba'g guvax guvf rkpunatr znqr vg gb nve:

          Knaqre: Lbh xabj jung gur orfg cneg bs uvtu fpubby jnf?
          Ohssl: Jura jr oyrj vg hc?
          Knaqre: Lrnu! Gung ehyrq. 'Pnhfr lbh xabj gur guvat gung znqr vg fb fcrpvny…
          Ohssl: Jnf gung gur fpubby oyrj hc?
          Knaqre: Rknpgyl!
          Ohssl: V ortva gb svaq lbh gebhoyvat.
          Knaqre: Bu, pbzr ba, lbh xabj lbh'er nyy guvaxvat vg.
          Ohssl: Jryy…
          Naq gura, bireynccvat:
          Jvyybj: V jnf.
          Pbeqryvn: Cerggl zhpu.
          Bm: Hu uhu.
          Ohssl: Lrnu.

  78. Dru says:

    Oh god, am I going to start shipping Angel/Buffy?

    NOOOOOOOO, MARK. STAY STRONG AND DO NOT. (does it help to remember he's a two century-old creeper who fixated on a FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL after SPYING ON HER outside her school? And that was Good!Angel! )

  79. I think Willow's known Jonathan longer than the longest, maybe from Hebrew school. (well, that's how i protray it in my fics :-).)

    Buffy's remark after using her mirror then turning and seeing Angel, about how she should've known he wasn't there because she didn't see him, reminds me of what I used to say to my ex-wife abotu spotting her in crowds. Don't worry, she got me back for it!

  80. JJ. says:

    I love this exchange.

    I don't know, Jonathan, I'm just —
    Stop doing that!
    Doing what?
    Stop saying my name like we're friends.
    We're not friends. You all think I'm an
    idiot. A short idiot.
    I don't.
    His hands tighten on the gun. He's getting angry.

    I don't think about you much at all.
    Most people here don't. Bugs you,
    doesn't it? You've got all this pain,
    all these feelings and nobody's
    paying attention.

  81. hassibah says:

    "Though I wish that meant they sounded like the Ramones."

    Don't we all?

    I would pay good money to see a spinoff with Willow as Ms.Marple and Jonathan as her inevitable weekly foil.

    I know everyone's thoughts are really funny but the part of me that is no fun is kind of horrified that Buffy has no discretion whatsoever about blabbing everyone's private thoughts around. But whatever, not real.

    I also know it's way too late for anybody to notice this comment but that's never stopped me before!

  82. Scottish Eddie says:

    This is one of my favourite Buffy episodes, at any given moment I can have any spot in my top ten.

    The humour I find well placed and lightening, the drama is tense but it is the message of the episode that resonates for me.

  83. notemily says:


    My computer broke right before I watched this episode, so I had to take notes in my head, and literally the ONLY one I remember is: Oh no, Buffy got the glowing demon blood on her! Now all the other demons are going to come after her because of pheromones and she'll have to defend the Block! (Yeah I just watched that movie and IT WAS AWESOME.)

    Oz's thoughts are seriously THE BEST. "We think, therefore, she is."

    Xander's fears because every other thought he has is about sex–so totally how I would react to someone reading my mind. Not that I think about sex all the time, but that person would now be privy to my secret thoughts about EVERYTHING, even sex, and, like, poop. And farts. Oh god, if I farted, THEY WOULD ALWAYS KNOW IT WAS ME BECAUSE THEY COULD READ MY MIND. I couldn't even blame it on the dog.

    On the other hand, sometimes I have WISHED that people could experience what it's like to be inside my head. When I'm trying to explain to someone what it's like to have ADHD or depression or anxiety or obsessive thoughts and they are Just Not Getting It, I wish I could do that mind-meld thing like the Doctor does where he just infodumps everything at once. And certainly I could benefit from learning about others' minds, too.

    Buffy kind of gets some of that when she starts to feel everyone's pain. In mindfulness class we talk a lot about loving-kindness, and realizing that everyone on this earth is suffering in some way, but it's easy to forget. My mindfulness teacher used to say, imagine the person you're talking to as a five-year-old child, in order to cultivate compassion towards them. I kind of prefer to imagine them as an awkward thirteen-year-old, because I can relate to that a bit better. It helps remind me that EVERYONE has insecurities and fears and nobody has it all together.

    As for Columbine, I highly recommend the book Columbine by Dave Cullen (no relation to the vampires) if you want to know more about it. He debunks a LOT of the myths and rumors surrounding the event, and really breaks down how and why it happened. Nothing to do with trench coats or Marilyn Manson or Satanism, if you're wondering.

    That radio blacklist was ri-fucking-diculous. Of all the stupid-ass shit to come out of 9/11, that was one of the worst. I heard later that it wasn't BANNED songs, it was just songs that radio people might want to think about not playing because they might trigger someone, which makes more sense. But combined with the "freedom fries" bullshit that happened later–I swear, I was in New York once and I saw a sign for crepes that called them "Freedom Pancakes" and I was just like WHAT–it just seemed like one more symptom of the reactionary jingoism that sprung up quickly after the attacks.

  84. notemily says:

    ….this is why I like watching Buffy with a whole community of people who are smarter than I am.

    • pica_scribit says:

      I don't think it's a smarts issue; we just all tend to notice different things. That's what I love about this community as well. I love seeing what people will pick up on that I have managed never to notice in 11 years as a Buffy fan.

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