Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | January 23, 2012

Cordia’s Review: S3, E18 – Earshot

Earshot
Season 3, Episode 18
Original airing: September 21, 1999

My Rating: 75

The Good: The story of Buffy as a mind-reader was fun and entertaining. We got to take a nice little peak into the minds of the Scoobies and it allowed for a pretty interesting story about how much people get wrapped up in their own lives.

Hearing everyone’s thoughts was all together humorous, poignant, and thought-provoking. Xander and Cordelia were straight forward comedy, while also revealing the interesting fact that Xander seems to still be pining a bit for Cordelia. Oz’s version of “I think, therefore I am” was a very in-character joke and Willow raised some very important questions. As Buffy gets more and more disconnected from humanity with special powers and skills, what does Willow have to offer to their relationship? This also led to Buffy’s discovery that Giles and Joyce slept together in Band Candy (S3E6). This was an excellent long-term pay-off.

I also appreciated that Cordelia was useful again. We have another example of her being sucked back into the Scoobies because they need all hands on deck to handle the crisis. I loved how Willow took charge and sent everyone on their assignments with their worksheets. We got to see some fun cameos from returning characters Jonathon and Larry as well. The new characters, Lauren and Freddy, were nice miss-directions as well. Freddy, particularly, was an example of a good red herring. We learn through Buffy and Willow that he’s a malcontent and his reason for avoiding Oz makes a lot of sense. When they finally track him down, they learn he was just afraid of being beat up.

Finally, it was nice to see another little bit of maturity in Angel and Buffy’s relationship. After she attempts to use her new power to read his mind about Faith, they have a real conversation about it. Buffy admits her fears that a small part of Angel might still want a bad girl. Angel states plainly that he’s been there, done that and he loves Buffy. As someone who believes all relationships should be rooted in honest, direct, kind communication, I really appreciated this scene. When drama is created purely because characters refuse to talk to each other, it drives me up the wall.

The Bad: My main gripe with this episode is the Jonathon red herring. It’s actually handled pretty well, up until we learn he was planning to use a high-powered sniper rifle to off himself. This comes across as a ludicrous weapon choice and was an obvious attempt to trick the audience into thinking he was going to be the mass murderer.

It’s also a little unfortunate that the lunch lady came out of left field as the murderer. The story was wrapped up so quickly after this discovery, it almost felt truncated. But I’m willing to forgive it because the lunch lady poisoning everyone wasn’t really the point of the episode.

Favorite Moment: Despite not being the real kicker of the episode, the lunch lady was still my favorite moment. Her face when Xander catches her pouring rat poison into the food is just priceless.

The Bottom Line: This is a very entertaining episode which also succeeds very well with the original premise of the show – teenage angst hidden in supernatural happenings.

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