Previously: Faith killed a not particularly evil demon, and tried to seduce Angel. When that failed, she and the Mayor stole his soul, but LOL NOPE Angel’s the best actor ever and now they know the Mayor’s plan. Buffy’s pissed that Angel made out with Faith, and they’re on a break, Ross and Rachel style.
Kirsti: Yes, that title is a reference to Bananas In Pyjamas. I’m Australian, what the hell else would you expect?
Lorraine: I already have no idea what’s going on here.
ANYWAY. We open with Buffy running through a park. She falls to the ground, and a big, scaly demon with no mouth appears behind her. She grins and kicks at it, then pulls out a knife. Apparently the run and fall thing was an act. But OH NO. There’s a second big. scaly demon with no mouth. One grabs her knife while the other grapples with Buffy. She throws it to one side, and gets her own knife thrown at her head. She catches the knife, and uses it to stab one of the demons. The other scarpers, and we see some glowing white demon blood absorb into her hand. Ew. Roll credits.
At school the next day, Buffy’s recapping the previous night’s slaying for Willow, who says the no mouth thing freaks her out. I don’t blame her. Giles, Oz and Xander have been researching the Ascension. Apparently Giles has eliminated several possibilities, but basically what they know amounts to this:
Buffy’s all “My boyfriend made out with the town bicycle for nothing?!” but Giles points out that at least now they know that Faith’s a dirty dirty liar who’s working for the Mayor. Buffy absentmindedly scratches at her blood absorbing hand as Wesley scurries up. He snarks at Giles, who gets a “Bitch, I will cut you” face and then points out that with the resources of the Council behind him, surely Wesley has some awesome research to add. Wesley says that he’s discounted the same things as Giles and everyone rolls their eyes and leaves. Except for Giles who smirks into his tea.
Lor: TEA COZY! Sorry. It’d just been a while since I had an occasion to say tea cozy.
Sweeney: I LOVE WHEN WE GET TO SAY TEA COZY!
K: You’d get to say it more often if Boston hadn’t thrown the tea into the harbour…
Lor: But “no taxation without representation” is really fun to say, so there is that.
K: Out in the hallway, Willow asks if Buffy’s seen Angel. She gets all “FAKE BAD AND KISSING FAITH = NOPE”, and Willow says “He only kissed her for the greater good.” And I’m sorry, but I lost my shit and started giggling hysterically at this point because this is all I could think of:
Sweeney: A+ for the Hot Fuzz reference.
K: Thank you. Anyway, Buffy thinks that Angel looked like he was enjoying making out with the crazy chick.
Sweeney: Eliza Dushku is hot. He probably did.
K: Good point.
Willow advises that Buffy, oh I don’t know, ASK. Willow then says that it’s too bad Buffy has to patrol because eeeeeeeeeeeeeeveryone is going to the basketball game, on account of Sunnydale somehow overcame all those mysterious deaths and made the championships. Buffy sulks a little and scratches at her hand some more.
Cut to Giles’ office, where she’s all “Ew, I touched a demon and now I think I have cooties.” (L: Makes me happy I got my cootie shot long ago.) He pulls out his trusty A-Z of Demons and goes, “hmm.” Apparently the big scaly mouthless kind can “infect the host with an aspect of the demon,” which is suitably nonspecific. But he then suggests that her hand might be itchy because of a new fabric softener. LOL, NOPE. Outside, Cordelia is busy spelling out words with her arms to introduce the basketball team while Willow reads the school paper. She asks if anyone else has found it depressing recently, and Oz says “I dunno, I always go straight to the obits.” Oh, Sunnydale. Only you would have need of such a thing…
Sweeney: I love these subtle acknowledgements of how craycray this universe is. So much so that its high school paper needs an obituaries section.
K: Meanwhile, Buffy’s checking her scalp to make sure she’s not growing horns. Willow tries to reassure her, but not knowing what aspect she’s going to get is freaking Buffy out. She lists some demon parts and then Willow gets a terrified look on her face:
LOL FOREVER. Back at the pep rally, Wesley is watching Cordy cheer, and Xander’s none too happy about it. I don’t blame him. It’s kind of pedo-y.
Sweeney: I am mostly amused by/in favor of their relationship, but YEAH, this is pedo-y, Wesley. Calm down.
K: Buffy has another freak out because she thinks she might wake up as Not Her, and we cut to her walking down her street in the dark. Angel lurk-ppears from nowhere, and says that he wants to make sure she’s safe. They have a little tiff about Faith, and then Buffy mopes some more about her pending demon part, and UGH, THIS PLACE IS BROOD CENTRAL. Right on cue, the Clarinet of Mopeyness strikes up as Angel says he’ll always make sure nothing happens to her. With the magic of knowing what happens in the coming seasons, I’m going to go with “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, NOPE.”
Lor: IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS.
K: At school the next day, Xander is wearing a shirt made of Christmas wrapping paper:
But mostly he, Willow and Oz are discussing the basketball game, which Sunnydale won right at the buzzer. Willow shushes the boys as Buffy approaches. They try to downplay how awesome the game was, which works until Cordy’s all “ARE YOU INSANE?!” Xander turns to look at Cordy and wonders (via a voiceover) if she and Wesley have kissed. When Buffy comments on it, Xander’s all “Whoa, mind read much?” and Buffy gets a horrified expression on her face. HELLO, ASPECT OF THE DEMON!
After a Not Ad Break, Buffy’s walking through the corridors, hearing thoughts from random people. My favourite is from the dude who’s got four inches of boxer shorts sticking out the top of his jeans, who’s thinking “I swear, someday my pants are going to fall right off.” (S: Awesome.) But then she starts hearing horny teenage boy thoughts, and EW. So she runs off to talk to Giles. He pooh-poohs the idea of her being telepathic, so she proves it: “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.'” LOL. There’s a minute of Giles thinking stuff, then saying stuff, and Buffy going “I know, you just told me.”
Lor: Buffy is excited about her new power, probably because she’s never watched TV and forgot she lives in Sunnydale. If you put these two things together, you quickly realize that telepathy + Buffy = NOPE.
Sweeney: But it was great for these couple minutes, right? I’m glad she got to have that, you know, before it went the usual Sunnydale way.
K: So very true. She should really start reading our recaps.
Cut to English class where Buffy is using her new found powers to steal the answers right out of the class know-it-all’s head. Surprisingly, the class know-it-all isn’t Willow. Willow, meanwhile, is busy thinking “Buffy did the reading? Buffy UNDERSTOOD the reading?” which seems a little harsh. (L: 1430, bitches!) Buffy hears Freddy, the editor of the school paper, being kind of an arse which serves very little purpose besides introducing him to the plot, and then she moves on to stealing ideas straight out of the teacher’s head. Cheater.
We head over at the Brooding Bungalow, because Buffy’s realised she can find out how Angel really felt about making out with Faith. Except that it turns out that, much like Sookie Stackhouse, Buffy can’t hear the thoughts of vampires. Bummer. He says that she can just ask, and she replies “Oh, but that would have made sense.” Yup. She says that Faith has that whole bad girl thing going on, and Angel says he doesn’t want a bad girl because been there done that a millionty times. That’s a little too much honesty and sharing for Buffy, but Angel redeems himself by saying he’s only ever loved one person – her. He then tells her to be careful with the whole mind reading thing, because sometimes things that seem like gifts aren’t. Like immortality. He’s dying to get rid of that. “Funny,” she says, and he deadpans “I’m a funny guy” in response. I kind of don’t hate him right now.
Lor: That’s practically a Heartless Cow term of endearment. Cute.
Sweeney: It really is! And not that I want to push limits or undermine how grateful I am for one of the kindest things you’ve said about soul-having Angel, on behalf of Team Buffy/Angel, Party of Me, I HAVE TO INCLUDE THIS NOW. SORRY I’M NOT SORRY:
K: Aaaaaaaand Team Heartless Cow is back to being heartless.
Cut back to the Wiggins Library where Xander’s freaking out about Buffy being able to hear his thoughts. Willow tries to be supportive, but then accidentally thinks that Buffy won’t need her anymore now that she’s not really human. Oz, meanwhile, is having an existential crisis, because how can he exist if all his thoughts are in Buffy. (S: This is part of why we love him.) Xander proceeds to think about sex and then naked girls and then naked Buffy, and runs screaming for the door. Wesley says that they’re all going to find themselves thinking whatever they don’t want Buffy to hear, and that avoiding it is all a question of mental discipline. He, of course, proceeds to think about how hot Cordy is. Buffy does this:
And Wesley also runs away. Buffy tells Willow that it’s like doors are opening to hundreds of little worlds, and Willow gets a little hurt because Buffy knows what Oz is thinking and Willow never knows what Oz is thinking. Oz, for the record, is thinking “We think, therefore she is.” Anyway, Willow can’t quite deal with it all, and leaves. Oz follows her. Cordelia, bless her, says every single thing that pops into her head, most of which are about how she doesn’t want to be there.
Out in the hallway, Buffy struggles to process the thoughts of all the people around her. Giles and Wesley, meanwhile, have discovered that a man in Ecuador also became telepathic thanks to demon blood, and is now in total isolation because he can’t stop hearing all the thoughts. Welp. That’s awkward.
In the cafeteria, Buffy’s firmly on Struggle Street. She gets more and more overwhelmed, then hears a single voice cutting through the noise: “This time tomorrow, I’ll kill you all.” She drops her tray, and starts grabbing people, trying to work out who the Future Murderer is. But the noise gets too much and she ends up standing in the middle of the cafeteria with her hands over her ears, and then passing out next to her dropped lunch.
She wakes up to this:
Which would kind of freak me out. Also, how the hell did they get her outside?! Anyway, she fills Giles in on the whole “someone’s a Future Murderer” thing. She tries to head back into the school to keep searching, but the noise of all the thoughts causes her to nearly pass out again. She asks the others to investigate, and Giles leads her towards his car to drive her home. She asks if she’ll be okay, and he’s all “YUP, TOTES”, but then thinks “If it doesn’t go away, she’ll go insane.” WHOOPS.
Joyce tucks Buffy into bed, and then dashes in and out of the room getting things. Buffy asks Joyce to sit with her, but she makes excuses. Then this happens and I have to post the entire gifset because OMG PERFECTION AND BAHAHAHAHAHAHA:
Sweeney: +1. AWESOME. This definitely makes the Joyce highlight reel. Not that it’s a lengthy reel, but this makes it.
K: Back at school, Willow divvies up the list of names, which she’s narrowed down to twelve. She interviews Jonathan about how fantasies are fun, and EW. Except that it turns out she’s talking about fantasies of power. Carry on.
Lor: This scene gave me wicked deja vu. Rightly so, as this is the second time Willow questions Jonathan. Of course the first time was in Go Fish. And yes, to answer a commenter’s question, I do enjoy the continuity and call backs BUT WHY GO FISH? AGAIN.
K: Could be worse. Could be The Zeppo… #justsaying.
Oz interviews members of the basketball team, which is mildly hilarious because they’re like three feet taller than him, and Cordelia flat out asks a teacher if he’s planning on killing a bunch of people. And then follows it up with “Oh, and it’s for the yearbook.” Smooth, Cordy. Xander, on the other hand, is using his time to try and pick up girls. Oz also checks out the newspaper office, but fails to spot Freddy hiding under the desk.
That night, Buffy stares out her bedroom window, hearing the thoughts of everyone in the neighbourhood. She shuts the window, but it doesn’t help. Wesley and Giles, meanwhile, are making up a cure. They have everything they need – except the heart of the second demon. Cut to the park where Angel, game face on, is fighting the demon. The demon knocks Angel down and makes a run for it. Cut back to Buffy’s room, where it’s now early morning and Buffy’s tossing and turning and whimpering. Cut AGAIN to the school, where the interviews continue. Xander talks to Larry, but being gay is no longer a secret – “I’m so out I’ve got my grandma fixing me up with guys!” Awesomeness. He still thinks Xander’s gay, and encourages him to have Freddy put a tasteful coming out announcement in the school paper.
Back in the Wiggins Library, it turns out that Freddy was the only person they couldn’t find. Back at Buffy’s, Joyce tells Giles that she can’t stand the idea that she’s hurting Buffy with her thoughts. Apparently not any more, because “she can’t pick one thought out of…out of the din.” Suddenly, someone starts bashing on the front door. It’s Angel, who’s smoking on account of daylight. He’s got the finished potion, which is electric blue and has chunks floating in it. Ew. He force feeds it to Buffy who, surprisingly, doesn’t gag everywhere.
He DOES have to hold her down as she writhes though, so…there’s that.
Cut to the school, where suspenseful music is playing. We pan up to the previously unseen clock tower, where Jonathon is sweating like a pig and unpacking a gun. I can’t identify it further on account of Australia having gun control. (It’s not a hand gun. That’s all I got.)
Lor: I am American and I can’t identify it, contrary to popular belief. I also own no guns. WHUT. I know, Kirsti. I just blew your Australian mind.
Sweeney: +1. True stat: 0% of American Snark Ladies own guns.
K: This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I’d long suspected that the Ladies of Snark aren’t really representative of gun toting Americans. Story time: I visited a friend in rural Nebraska once, and friends of her brother’s barged into the house one day carrying a new gun that they wanted to show him. I responded to their friendly “Hey, where’s B-?” with “PLEASE DON’T KILL ME OH MY GOD.” That was in 2004. I’m still the laughing stock of their town. Much like when there are sharks in the water, guns give Australians the wiggins.
BACK TO SUNNYDALE. Over at Buffy’s, she’s all better. Yay. Cut back to the school and I’m starting to feel seasick from all the cuts. The Scoobies go into the newspaper office and corner Freddy. Turns out he thought Oz was looking for him because he gave Dingoes Ate My Baby a bad review:
Oz: Dingoes Ate My Baby play their instruments as if they have plump Polish sausages taped to their fingers.
Freddy: Sorry, man.
Oz: No, it’s fair.
Buffy turns up and they’re all “yay, you can’t hear us thinking any more!” Her plan is to evacuate the school and hope the Future Murderer isn’t waiting outside. Then Cordy conveniently finds a murdery sounding note on Freddy’s desk. It’s from Jonathan. The gang set out to find him. We cut back and forth between Jonathan taking three hundred years to assemble the gun (L: FO REAL.), and the gang searching various rooms of the school. Xander checks the cafeteria and gets distracted by jello.
Lor: XANDER RANT! Here is another excellent example of the writer’s sacrificing Xander on the altar of comedic relief and contrivant plot points. Xander. Someone is about to SHOOT UP THE SCHOOL, and you are distracted by Jell-o? I hate him so much sometimes.
K: Agreed. Buffy runs into the quad and spots Jonathan up in the clock tower. She does a not even remotely subtle leap onto the roof and bursts through the clock tower just as Jonathan loads his gun.
He turns the gun on her, and tells her not to try and stop him. She tells him she’s not going anywhere, and he says, “Stop saying my name like we’re friends.” It’s the first time Jonathan’s had more than a jokey sort of a role, and it’s pretty great acting from Danny Strong. He thinks that everyone thinks he’s a short idiot, and Buffy takes the honest approach, telling him that no one really thinks about him at all.
Sweeney: I LOVE THIS. I have been looking forward to this episode since I first spotted him in an episode for the rewatch. This is one of the things that has been extra fun about rewatching the series because HE WAS IN SO MANY EPISODES. He was all over the place and I don’t think I even noticed the first time around and that makes this episode that much more brilliant.
K: I actually looked up Danny Strong on IMDb in the course of writing this post and had a moment of “Wait, he was only in that many episodes?! It seemed like so many more!” Weird. Buffy tells Jonathon that she feels his pain, and he’s all “Pff, yeah right.” At which point, she monologues as she looks out over the quad:
Buffy: 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.
Jonathan hands her the gun, and she does a little spiel about how mass murder is never the answer. He’s all “WHUT?” because apparently he was just going to kill himself.
Lor: I’m going back to my “I can’t identify this gun,” to say that it looks rather sniper-y-ish. And long, so that pointing it at yourself and pulling the trigger would be difficult, no?
K: Huh. Good point. Meanwhile, Xander’s sneaking into the cafeteria kitchen to take some jello, just in time to see the lunch lady pouring a giant box of rat poison into the food:
L: She apparently bought that RAT POISON!! from Acme Corporation.
K: RIGHT???? He runs for the cafeteria and starts slapping food out of people’s hands. And then the lunch lady comes after him with a cleaver. Sadly, Buffy grabs her hand just as she’s about to get choppy. Shame. There’s a brief fight with the lunch lady – who thinks they’re all vermin who do nothing but eat – from which Buffy obviously emerges victorious.
Walking up to school the next day, Willow asks how things are with Angel, and I get distracted by Buffy’s skirt, which is knee length, but also see through. Ho suspension or no? I can’t decide…
Lor: (1) The under portion is still longer than some skirts we’ve seen Buffy wear and (2) she’s been in Good Girl Pastels so much lately, I’ll let it slide.
K: Good points. Giles approaches and asks how she’s doing. Better, apparently. Jonathan, on the other hand, got suspended and his parents are wigging out about the whole suicide thing. Buffy says that it’s nice to be able to help someone in a non-Slaying capacity, but that she’s worried Jonathan might ask her to prom. Giles says that it would probably be good for Jonathan’s self esteem, thereby proving that after three years as her Watcher, he still has zero idea how teenage girls operate.
Lor: Buffy balks at accepting his invitation and says he’s short. That line rubbed me as pretty tactless, on account of this is the boy who almost killed himself recently thanks to his insecurities. There was some slap-stick type humor in this episode that featured attempts at suicide and mass murder, and okay. But really? You had to get that dig in?
Sweeney: +1. It was just tasteless.
K: Yeah, that seemed pretty icky to me too…
Giles asks if she’s up for some training, seeing as how she’s feeling better now. She says that after school works for her, “…if you’re not too busy having sex WITH MY MOTHER.” And then this happens:
Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The gang get college acceptance letters, the Mayor kidnaps Willow, and Buffy steals a box full of grossness. Find out what’s in the box (sorry. Couldn’t resist) in S03 E19 – Choices.