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Next — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
September 21, 1999


Jane Espenson

Regis Kimble

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Danny Strong as Jonathan
Lauren Roman as Nancy
Ethan Erickson as Percy
Larry Bagby, III as Larry
Justin Doran as Hogan
Wendy Worthington as Lunch Lady
Karem Malicki-Sánchez as Freddy Iverson
Robert Arce as Mr. Beach
Molly Bryant as Ms. Murray
Rich Muller as Student
Jay Michael Ferguson as Another Student


When Buffy makes contact with a demon, she becomes infected with an aspect of it — its ability to read minds. She finds it cool at first, but soon no one wants to be around her, and eventually it becomes uncontrollable. Before she becomes incapacitated from her new "talent," she telepathically overhears an unknown voice threatening mass murder at the school. While Angel, Giles, and Wesley race to save Buffy from insanity, the rest of the gang races to save the school. In the end, Angel saves Buffy, and Buffy stops both a suicide (Jonathan's) and, with the help of Xander, a mass murder (attempted food-poisoning by the lunch lady).

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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scabby demon The mouthless demons bore a physical resemblance to the fish creatures in "Go Fish," and, in turn, to The Creature From the Black Lagoon and similar movies. The telepathy idea isn't new (though treated well). Among other shows, movies, etc., this episode bears resemblance to an episode of The Twilight Zone ("A Penny for Your Thoughts"), as well as an episode of Beyond Reality ("Inner Ear").

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Body Count

Scabby Demon #1
Stabbed by Buffy in the park.
Scabby Demon #2
Offscreen, but since Angel got his heart, it's safe to assume he's dead.
Total: Two
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Dialogue to Die For

Xander (to Oz, regarding the intensity of the basketball game): "Yeah, for a minute there, I thought you were gonna make an expression."
Oz: "Well, I felt one coming on, I won't lie."

Xander (thinking): "What am I gonna do? I think about sex all the time. Sex. Help! Four times five is thirty. Five times six is thirty-two. Naked girls. Naked women. Naked Buffy. Oh, stop me!"

Nancy (watching Buffy maneuver up to the clock tower): "Ugh. I could've done that."

Buffy (regarding Jonathan's pain): "Yeah, well, mass murder? Not really doctor recommended for that kind of pain. Besides, prison, you know, it's a lot like high school only instead of noogies..."

Buffy (to Giles): "Sure, we can work out after school. You know, if you're not too busy having sex with my mother!"
Giles (walking into a tree): "Ungh!"

More quotes from this episode...

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  • Buffy (regarding her itchy hand): "No big. Just another problem for the good people at Lubriderm, right?" — Lubriderm is a brand of body lotions made by Warner-Lambert. They're very good lotions, though they don't make anything specifically for itch relief.

  • Buffy: "Principal Snyder has 'Walk Like an Egyptian' stuck in his head." — "Walk Like an Egyptian" is a catchy little ditty released by the Bangles in 1986.

  • Buffy discusses "Othello" in English class. "Othello," written by Shakespeare, is (in short) about Iago convincing Othello that his wife, Desdemona, has been unfaithful.

  • Xander: "See? I've been saying for years that the lunch lady's gonna do us all in with that Mulligan stew." — A stew consisting of meat, vegetables, or any on-hand ingredients. Probably named after some Irish guy.

  • Xander: "Oooh! Jell-O!" — Xander spots a gelatin dessert, which may or may not actually be Jell-O brand. It's common to refer to all gelatins as Jell-O, kind of like Kleenex.

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  • Enemies — Buffy asks if "the whole Faith-Angel thing was for nothing," referring to Angel pretending to turn evil in order to get info from Faith about the Ascension (Buffy and Willow's conversation about Angel refers to the same incident).

  • Doppelgängland — The conversation between Percy and Willow about their study session indirectly refers to "Doppelgängland," when Willow first began to tutor Percy.

  • Band Candy — The whole Joyce having sex with Giles thing refers to "Band Candy," when the two were under the influence of the band candy (making them act like teenagers). They didn't have sex on screen, but it was subtly implied; this is the first 100% proof that they did.

  • Phases — Xander's conversation with Larry refers back to "Phases," when Larry revealed to Xander that he was gay, because he thought that Xander was gay (and still does).

  • The Prom — Buffy says Jonathan looks like he wants to ask her to prom, but he's too short for her to go with. He does find a date, who is even taller than Buffy is. Jonathan also presents Buffy with the "Class Protector" award at the prom, which made more sense after "Earshot" aired.
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • Oz asks if Buffy saw a weredog, but since he was at the game (not as a werewolf), there presumably shouldn't have been were-anythings out last night.

  • When Buffy and Angel are talking at the mansion, Angel's necklace moves back and forth from inside his shirt to outside as the camera switches angles. — Spotted by CatieE.

  • When Buffy first looks up at the clock tower (looking for Jonathan), the clock says 12:40, but when she looks back up a moment later, it says 12:10. (And shortly before this scene, it says 11:00.)

  • When Buffy fights the lunch lady in the cafeteria, it's rather obvious that the lunch lady has a stunt double (we originally thought the double was a man, but episode commentary revealed that it was a woman, just not a woman well-matched to the actress playing the lunch lady). — Spotted by Mathew.

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  • On April 20, 1999, in Littleton, Colorado, two teenage boys committed mass murder at their high school (Columbine High School), injuring many and killing 13 before killing themselves. This, understandably, sent the nation into an uproar. "Earshot" was scheduled to air just one week later, but due to the content (a student's apparent plot to commit mass murder at Sunnydale High), and a few lines in particular, the WB decided it would be best not to air this episode so soon after the tragedy in Colorado. Joss Whedon supported the decision. The episode was finally aired on September 21, 1999.

  • Flaying, in case you're wondering, means stripping the skin off of something.

  • It's interesting that Xander compares Wesley to Pierce Brosnan (not sure why he does, but whatever). Later, in "The Prom," Cordy says that Wesley would look "way 007 in a tux" — 007 being James Bond being most recently played by Pierce Brosnan.

  • The school paper (the Sunnydale High Sentinel) has an obituary section (which Oz likes to read).

  • Angel says that Buffy can't read his mind, because "it's like the mirror: the thoughts are there, but they create no reflection in you."

  • According to a British slang dictionary, Giles was calling Wesley an idiot when he said, "Berk." This has been confirmed by some viewers, but others tell us that it originates from the word "berserk," still others tell us that it's a contraction of the slang term "Berkshire Hunt," and is an extremely profane term, and still others tell us that the Berkshire Hunt part is right, but that "berk" in itself isn't profane at all, although perhaps it used to be. We're guessing this is a regional thing — unless it's a conspiracy to confuse us.

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Jamie and Jeremy:
Definitely worth the wait, though we should not have had to wait in the first place, but that's another discussion. We both agree that this is the best episode of the third season. The story was written, directed, and acted excellently (we believed Jonathan was the killer, just like we were supposed to — or we would have if we hadn't already read the transcript). In particular, Jonathan's performance was impressive; it's about time we got to see him do more than stand there and look clueless. Also notable was the character interaction, the score, and the Xander-lunch-lady-stare-down. We both give this one a 10/10 — a first for either of us.
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Air Date Rating Ranking
September 21, 1999 3.6 93 of 139
February 23, 2000 * 2.1 100 of 132 (tie)
* This was a special Wednesday night airing.

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