Sometimes our thoughts can be the deadliest weapon. Buffy found out that truth the hard way on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 18.
There are plenty of positives for having the ability to read minds. You can learn so much about another person, and you can be one step ahead of them too. Though, if the trade-off is a splitting headache and potential death, I'll pass.
Still, Buffy's mind-reading adventure is one of my rewatch favorites. Let's find out why by rewatching "Earshot."
Never trust a demon with glowing blood and no mouth.
If there's one thing we learned after Buffy's many battles, it's that if something looks suspicious and supernatural, it's probably supernatural. The leftover mark from the demon would no doubt cause a whole mess of shenanigans. And the way it faded away summed up the effectiveness of the creature.
Trouble was coming Buffy's way, but I liked that she had a bit of fun with the ability before it went wrong.
We didn't typically see her embrace her Slayer abilities or powers as a benefit. Buffy loved her enhanced skills, but it came across as a burden as a result of the calling. With the mind-reading ability, she lived her best Ferris Bueller's Day Off fantasy.
Buffy Summers finally felt like a teenager again!
While Giles focused on the research and the seriousness, "Earshot" gave us many iconic comedic moments for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
How could we ever forget Buffy wowing the class by reading Nancy's mind? Or her hearing the uncomfortable truths from her classmates down the hallway?
The best scene at Sunnydale High, on the other hand, is the scene when she revealed the truth to the other Scoobies. Their thoughts suited the character archetypes that had been built over three seasons. And their inner monologues shed a lot of light on their hidden desires.
Oz is a philosophical genius. Willow's insecurity about Buffy not needing her. Xander focusing a lot on sex. Wesley's burning crush on Cordelia.
Many of these elements would become plot points or ongoing gags later down the line.
Oz: [Thinking] I am my thoughts. If they exist in her, Buffy contains everything that is me, and she becomes me. I cease to exist.
[Oz speaks out loud]
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.
Buffy: God, Xander. Is that all you think about?
[Xander speaks out loud]
Xander: Actually... bye.
[He runs away]
Cordelia brought the most laughs whenever Buffy read her mind. If there were any doubts about her sincerity or truthfulness, "Earshot" cleared up those concerns.
Cordelia is a straightforward character who spoke whatever was on her mind.
When I first watched the library scene, I couldn't stop laughing when her dialogue and thoughts matched word-for-word. Now twenty years later, that scene still makes me giggle.
She is a gem that we took for granted all these years.
Angel: You can't get into my mind.
Buffy: How did you...
[Buffy stares at him]
Buffy: Why not?
Angel: It's like the mirror. The thoughts are there, but they create no reflection in you.
In Angel's case, strange as it may be, I'm happy that she wasn't able to read his mind.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel didn't stick to a straight line when it came to the mythology and restrictions of vampires. Sometimes they would forget or blur the lines which would then muddy the waters. (*Cough* Angel beside sunny windows *cough*)
Angel doesn't have a reflection, so Buffy shouldn't be able to read his mind. There is a line; let it stay drawn.
Plus, if Buffy had been able to read his mind, the mystery of the character and the ambiguity of their relationship would've faltered as a result.
We love answers, but the benefits of keeping the secrets outweighed the benefits of the truth. Angel needed to stay a mystery.
Though, all wasn't too bad on the Buffy/Angel front. There was something strangely intimate between them when Angel feeds Buffy the organ from the demon.
Buffy may have been in near-death from the pain in her head, but she was living for the sexual tension. Angel/Buffy shippers must've celebrated the determination Angel took to save the woman he loved. Even I cheered him on for the grand romantic gesture.
Some romance novels would kill to capture the tension these two exuded from this scene.
Buffy: I'm suddenly gonna grow this demon part, and we don't even know what it is. It could be claws or scales...
[Willow's eyes widen]
Willow: Was it a boy demon?
The school attacker case created a complex and interesting Monster of the Week. Instead of a demon terrorizing Sunnydale High, we had a human plotting something nefarious.
What I loved about this mystery was the return of several familiar faces who could've been the perpetrator.
Larry, Jonathan, and Percy all came back to add new depths to their characters. And we had the introduction of Nancy, Freddy, Hogan, and the lunch lady to round out more characters we hadn't met yet.
It's a shame that other familiar faces didn't join in the fold. Come on, who wouldn't have loved to get a sassy one-liner from Harmony? Or have someone obscure like Michael the witch from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 11 be suspected?
The possibilities were endless.
On the other hand, having the lunch lady be the villain was strangely satisfying. It's almost like the reveal of a murder mystery novel; instead of the butler, we had the lunch lady.
Xander called out a throwaway joke early on and it proved to be right.
Even with the seriousness of the case, the comedic gag was in full force. And after Buffy's heart-to-heart with Jonathan, the progression made the right choice for the reveal to be a funny twist.
The tone would've stayed too heavy if someone like Principal Snyder or demonic villain turned out to be the foe.
Speaking of Jonathan, the scene on top of the Sunnydale High bell tower will forever be an iconic moment because it related Buffy's experience as a Slayer with that of humanity's everyday concerns.
On paper, Buffy and Jonathan don't have much in common, except for the fact that they're students at the same school.
However, they dealt with the same doubts, the same loneliness, and the same fears/concerns of death. The realities of their lives weighed them down, and it affected them immensely since they internalized everything. Their responsibilities separated them, but their human conflicts were themes that connected them.
And it didn't stop at the two of them. Buffy astutely related the themes of thoughts and experiences that other people felt in their lives.
The bell tower is a scene that made us realize how we are all similar, even when we feel our problems are solitary and unique. It's a powerful scene!
Buffy: 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.
Also, I would be remiss to not discuss two other powerful scenes which are my absolute favorites: Buffy discovering that Joyce and Giles slept together, and her calling out Giles.
Sarah Michelle Gellar's comedic timing deserved all the awards. (Well, her acting performance, in general, deserved much more recognition, but that's an issue for another ... no, wait, that will always be a big issue.)
How could you not laugh at these scenes?
Both of them are utterly perfect. Whether it's Joyce running away awkwardly or Giles colliding with the tree, the surprise is a laugh out loud reveal. Plus, the students in the background turning their heads overhearing Buffy's reveal added a cherry to the sundae of this unforgettable joke.
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!
Now, over to you, Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans!
What did you think of "Earshot"?
Should Willow lead the Scoobies more often? Which character's secret thought did you love the most? Should "Earshot" have included more characters from the past?
Want to join us in rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We'll be posting new rewatch posts on Tuesdays and Fridays. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.