Monday, September 19, 2011

"Earshot" (Buffy 3.18): Buffy makes like the Alan Parsons project

Sing with me now . . .
"I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind"
We take a brief break from the Mayor's dirty deeds for a very smart, funny, and moving episode written by Jane Espenson, who has all sorts of geek cred. Faith and her evilness will be back in force for "Choices," but now, let's delve into the Buffyverse guide to getting exactly what you want . . . and realizing it sucks.

DON'T think that Edward Cullen was the first to wrestle with selective telepathy.
Long before Edward couldn't read Bella's mind, Buffy couldn't read Angel's.
There's no reason for this. Just wanted to.

After accidentally absorbing some demon blood, Buffy gains his "aspect." Though she fears it might be horns, a tail, or, thanks to Willow, his boy-demonhood, what she gets instead is the ability to hear people's thoughts. Awesome, right? Particularly since she was just bemoaning the fact that Angel is a tall dark and handsome cipher, and she is obsessing over whether he enjoyed last episode's performance-art make-out session with Faith. As my intrepid co-watcher Jenn points out, Willow's justification for Angel's behavior, "the greater good," is, and I'm quoting her here, "reasoning [that] no longer seems that reassuring or legitimate in a post-Deathly Hallows world."
She's carrying a lot of angst in that teeny, tiny purse.
Except, when she rushes right over to try some subliminal prompting, nothing.
What we really want to know is, "What were you thinking with that gold chain?"

Just like vampires cast no reflection, their thoughts can't be mirrored in Buffy's mind. Works for me, Jane. Smart.

DO remember to be careful what you wish for.
Though reading Angel's mind is an epic fail, unfortunately she can hear everyone else's thoughts, ALL THE TIME. There's the good (boy in hall thinks she's hot); the bad (yep, Joyce and Giles got it on . . . twice); and the ugly (someone is going to try to slaughter the student population--the Mayor is going to be so pissed!). However, Buffy is too busy going insane from the endless stream of (mostly depressing) thoughts of the Sunnydale citizenry, so it's up to the Scoobies to try to ferret out the killer in time. Their prime suspect is the editor of the school newspaper, the cynical and black-clad Freddy, but it turns out they're barking up the wrong, good-looking, mock-turtleneck-wearing, tree.
Where's this guy been all season?

DON'T forget that everybody hurts.
When a confessional letter is found in the hottie editor's in-box, Buffy engages in some spectacular gymnastics to thwart Jonathan (hey, Jonathan!) in the, well, it's not a clock tower, but picturing one will be fine. There, she discovers that Jonathan was planning to kill himself. It's really a stunning scene from an actor that previously, had only been used tangentially and comedically.
Aw, Jonathan. It gets better. Until season 6, where it gets much, much worse.

The real would-be killer is quite possibly the same lunch lady who was entranced by Xander's love spell in "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered." I'm too lazy to check.

This episode quite the topical meta-history. It was scheduled to air one week after the Columbine massacre, and was subsequently pulled, and only aired weeks before season 4's premiere. "Graduation Day" was preempted as well, for the same reason.


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