beginning | blinding torment | boils | lies | making me bitter | evil compounds evil | blah blah bity blah
Oh what? It's Willow in a cute hat. As if we could
resist putting it up.
Earshot is one of those episodes best seen in the context of the season arc. As opposed to episodes in season six that are so much better as standalone because you don't get quite as much hearing loss from the loud booming "Magic Is Bad. Like Crack. Which Also Is Bad." in your ear from the season's deafening life lesson. Sadly, in the United States, we didn't get to see Earshot in its proper order, and now that I've watched it back-to-back with Enemies, it makes a lot more sense. I always wrote off Buffy's whiny "I want to know what Angel's thinnnnnnking" as well, whining. And I still think it is, since she helped come up with the "evil make out session with Faith the slut" plan in the first place. But at the least this particular whining has context.
And also, I will save you the trouble of listening to Jane's commentary on DVD. Really. I think she listened to David Fury's commentary on Reptile Boy just a few too many times and started to think it was a good way to go. "OK, here they're walking. And in a minute they're going to talk. Ok, now. Talking." She also kisses Joss's ass just a little too often. At this point, I think Joss must conduct meetings holding that scythe from the finale. "Remember, any good idea came from me. The crap ideas? Yours obviously. But if it's good, well, remember who has the scythe." This is one of those commentaries filled with: "This scene? This one that's really funny and witty? Well, I wrote it but then it was crap, so we tossed it and Joss wrote an entirely different scene. That's this one. We threw mine away. Thank God."
But the episode. This is the one where Jonathan is the evil villain, who Buffy must defeat. Oh wait. That was Superstar. I mean, all of season six. Hey, wait a minute. did ME think we wouldn't notice that they're recycling plots? But you can tell this plot apart from all the other times when good, sweet Jonathan is inexplicably caught up in some evildoing in that he really only wants to evildo on himself. And he actually has been good and sweet up to this point, so in this episode, it's actually a surprise and fresh. Unlike all those later episodes. But I'm getting way ahead here.
Buffy's fighting some fish-looking demons, in those plastic fish outfits that ME really wants to get their money out of. I think she's in the same playground as when she found those dead kids in Gingerbread. This was before ME had all that money and could create a new set every week, but I kind of like the continuity better anyway. By the end of the series, Sunnydale had grown from "we don't have a whole lot of town here" to being so big no wonder it fell into a big crater in the ground. It was too heavy not to. The next day at school is recap day, where we're reminded about how Angel kissed the evil plan out of Faith and Buffy's all insecure and being a girl about it.
Sadly, the Watcher twins haven't really found out anything about said plan. But if only Buffy could be sure that Angel didn't really like kissing hot and evil Faith. If only she could... read his mind! Buffy's all itchy and Giles thinks that either the fish demon infected her or possibly she's allergic to her fabric softener. He can't really be sure. So tragic this guy got fired as Watcher. He is right on top of things. Turns out, the fish demon could read minds. And now, so can Buffy! How convenient!
Or so she thinks, but turns out, Angel's thoughts are pretty empty. She says "do you really love me and not that icky Faith even though she's all evil and sexy?" and then concentrates really hard on his thoughts and only gets "would it seem girly if I asked Buffy how my hair looks? I just wish I could see it myself! I'm not sure at all about this new conditioner. " Actually, it seems vampire minds to mind readers are like vampire bodies are to, er mirrors. Or something. They don't reflect. Or at least, that's Angel's explanation for his empty-headedness. ST might just say it's because he's a dumbass. [Yes. ST might. She might make a joke here about how nothing=nothing, but then. You know. Too easy. A girl likes a challenge -ST] (Speaking of dumbasses, I got the best spam ever the other day: "You are a stupid dumbass if you buy retail!" It was like an ancient Chinese proverb.)
Suddenly, there are all these subplots. The gang actually attends school events and interacts with other students. It's all subterfuge so we'll all confused later about who the evil villain is. Which, as I've already given away isn't any of these people. But anyway, I'll tell you about them in the interest of completeness.
Hogan, Percy, and Tom are basketball players who are better than Michael Jordan or something, so everyone's all excited that Sunnydale is actually winning something. You would think this means that the episode is going to take a dark turn as the coach pumps them full of steroids and they swim away as fish monsters, but actually, as ME has already used the fish demon outfits this episode, and no one would volunteer to wash them, we're spared that. However, you might recall that Percy is Willow's bitch, after the whole Dopplegangland incident during which her evil and sexy twin told him he'd do his homework and like it.
Freddy writes for the schoolspaper and apparently, he's a bigger geek than even the scoobies, because he wrote "the pep rally is a place for psuedo-prostitutes to provoke men into a sexual frenzy which, when thwarted, results in pointless athletic competition." Which means he isn't getting any. Ever. And he knows it.
Then there are the aforementioned "pseudo-prostitutes", otherwise known as cheerleaders, who are just learning how to spell. We also get some of the creepy Wesley/Cordy subplot and eww. I mean, I realize that Charisma is actually only four years younger than Alexis and neither of them were anywhere near high school age when this was shot, but we're supposed to be suspending disbelief and all that, so eww.
So back to the mind-reading thing. Buffy is all excited because she now knows how Giles really feels about her fashion sense (that she'd wear cats strapped to her feet) and that boys with really baggy pants actually do worry that their pants will fall off. You know, I've always wondered if those guys think about that. I mean, dude. Your pants are falling off. You will be so embarrassed if they end up around your feet. And no one wants to see that. Seriously.
In class, Buffy is sucking the knowledge from everyone around her to be all teacher's pet. (No, not that kind of teacher's pet. She's not a virgin anymore, remember?) The show is once again using Shakespeare to point out the life lesson of the episode. In this case, it's Othello and his jealousy. As the (hot, at least according to Xander's mind) teacher says, "He believes that she's been unfaithful. And we're all like that. We all have our little internal Iagos, that tell us our husbands or our girlfriends or whatever, don't really love us. But you never really see what's in someone's heart." And Buffy's all, word.
And on that note, she's off to see if her cool new power will tell her if Angel really does love her or if he's just hanging around for the free donuts. Or something. I dunno. Buffy doesn't really stop to think about why else a vampire would be hanging out with a slayer other than schmoopy love. Especially when she's always opening his drapes and letting in the hot fiery sunlight that can burn him to death. Maybe he's the one who has cause to be questioning her love and devotion. Take that, whiny Buffy.
We subsequently learn through Buffy's cool new power that Xander thinks about sex, Wesley thinks about Cordy, Willow is whiny on the inside, and Cordy, well she just says exactly what she thinks. This was before she became a glowy floaty head and a saint, after all. Anyway, Buffy starts hearing everyone's thoughts all at once, and then it's not so cool anymore. And turns out every single person is whiny on the inside and one of them is going to kill everyone. Woo! So, Buffy goes crazy and falls asleep, I mean passes out and everyone's worried about her, in their minds, except Cordelia, who's cold.
They all wonder who the killer could be and I bet you're shocked to find that everyone's thinking it might be one of the newly introduced subplot characters, except for Xander, who thinks it's the lunch lady. Silly Xander. You think you always save the day or something? So, they all start checking on the suspects, except for Buffy, who's in bed reading her mom's thoughts about sex with Giles. Mmm... sex with Giles... Sorry, where was I?
Anyway, Willow is interrogating Jonathan. "Fantasy's are fun, aren't they Jonathan? We all have fantasies that we're powerful, more respected. Where people pay attention to us." And thanks Willow for putting ideas into his head. Sheesh.
Larry thinks Xander should have Freddy put a coming out announcement in the paper for him. Larry doesn't need one, as his grandma is already fixing him up with guys.
Yeah, this is going well. I'm sure they'll figure out who the killer is any second now.
Giles and Wesley find a cure for Buffy, but it requires the heart of another telepathic fish demon, so Angel hunts it down (at night) and then brings it over to Buffy's (in the day). Because otherwise, we wouldn't see the introduction of the sun-repellent blanket that Spike got such great use out of in season four. [no, no, no SP! It shows his LOOOOOOOVE! He loves her SO much that he's willing to walk to her house holding a freshly cut out heart in his hand, timing his very, very slow pace to arrive after the sun has arrived to prove that he would walk through daylight and risk total and complete death, rather than the half-assed death he has so far committed to, to save her! She doesn't need to read his mind! Dumbass actions speak so much louder than dumbass words, no? It would almost *sniff* be beautiful *sniff*...if he wasn't a walking corpse with a thing for young, underaged chicks.--ST]
As Buffy is chugging the demon heart smoothie, we see Jonathan up in the clock tower with a high-powered rifle! And why does Sunnydale High have a clocktower?! Oh wait, I'm supposed to be worried about the death and carnage. Sorry. But anyway, they realize it's Jonathan because he wrote a letter to the school newspaper. Because, er, well, I have no idea why he did that actually other than isn't it fortunate they all thought it was the Freddy the never to be heard from again newspaper editor and got that coincidental clue!
So, Buffy jumps up to the clocktower and tells Jonathan about how everyone is whiny inside, not just him, and killing is for losers. But apparently, he was only going to kill himself. With a rifle! His arms must be much longer than I thought. Or maybe he was going to kill himself by shooting his foot. I really am not sure how that works. [I think, perhaps, he was going to use his foot to pull the trigger. I bet Jonathon's got wicked long toe-fingers.--ST]
And Buffy's all, hey wait a minute, I'm wasting my time saving you from killing yourself while a mass murderer runs free? Well, go right ahead with whatever you're doing, I gotta go! Meanwhile, Xander is distracted by jello. As he loads up on those little bitty plastic cups, he sees the lunch lady putting rat poison in the food, so not only is he right. Again. But he saves everyone. Again. He runs around knocking over everyone's food, sort of like Buffy does later with the whole "doublemeat burgers are people!". Which actually, they stole from a movie anyway. ME really does like to recycle stuff, don't they.
Anyway, since Angel fed Buffy that demon heart, she finally believes that he really does love her. Aww. Good thing he convinced her. Just in time for him to dump her in two episodes. That's what I always say, don't dump 'em until you've really convinced 'em of your deep and undying love. [That's right. If you're going to fuck 'em up for life, fuck 'em up good. Therapy's not cheap. Make those shrinks earn their paychecks. -ST]