Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | January 23, 2012

Podcast #52: Earshot

Here’s the podcast for Season 3, Episode 18 – Earshot

She's subtle

She's subtle

Download: Earshot

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The next podcast will appear on Monday 30th January 2012 for episode nineteen of Season Three: “Choices.” That’s the one where the Mayor captures Willow and the Scoobies find a box he wants, so they swap.

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  1. I can’t really structure my thoughts into a review so I just have a couple rants that this episode made me think of

    1. It hasn’t really bothered me that Buffy/Angel haven’t discussed don’t have a future because it makes sense that they wouldn’t because they are in love and they don’t want to see their relationship doesn’t have a future. Everyone knows of a relationship like this or were even in one at one time, well except for the whole we can’t have sex thing because you are an immortal vampire with a soul that could lose it if we get too happy that’s a little rarer. Here’s my question for you guys though since you are so not into the Buffy and Angel thing, I know you said last week (well Cordia did anyway) that you liked them in the season 2 or were at least interested in their relationship but now you aren’t because they don’t have a future. The thing is I don’t understand why you guys are negative on their relationship because there is no future because they never had a future just from the whole vampire/human thing.

    2. Now Faith I know I have come off as generally positive on her in previous episodes mostly because we were getting glimpses of her feelings guilty and she isn’t evil she is just misunderstood yadda yadda and I was mostly trying to convince myself that this was a good storyline because honestly I don’t want to hate it, but this is why I hate season 3 Faith. I don’t care that she is crazy and they haven’t successfully built up that she is evil, they just decided we are going to fully flip Faith to the evil switch, deal with it. It may be that we don’t know what Faith was like before she came to Sunnydale and I mean really all we know about her is that she likes violence and penises… oh and stabbing people to death. I think the Mayor if handled correctly could have been his own villain but I almost feel like the writers decided that the Angelus was response was so strong (I’m assuming here because I mean come on it’s Angelus!) they wanted another personal villain. So they decided to make Faith from someone who is a catalyst for Buffy to understanding slaying in a different way into a full blown enemy. That is not a terrible idea but they just went so quickly from Faith being a little unstable and hedonistic to full on Britney “Shave my hair off” Spears crazy. Things are just happening and there’s no justification or reason for them other they have to happen it really makes me angry.

    3. Now Cordelia, it may be slightly spoilerish since it wasn’t clearly spelled out but there’s clearly some financial troubles with her. I don’t want to say this excuses Cordelia’s bitca status all season but to be fair she’s had a horrible year, she gave up her life a guy, that guy then cheated on her, then she got a rebar through the stomach, then the guy who cheated on her acted like it was her fault (I’m just saying we never saw a Xander apology to Cordelia, all we have seen is him relentlessly dig at her [in some cases it was deserved I won’t deny that] ) and now her home life which was probably the one good thing that she was well off and privileged has gone away, it’s kind of understandable that she’d lash out. I’m not saying how she has acted this season is right or wrong but this episode does kind of explain her recent horribleness. Now the problem with this is other than Cordelia being awful there hasn’t been an inkling that this was happening so it’s not the best longform storytelling but it’s still better than Faith.

    4. Also I have always hated and will always hate that Willow goes to the community college in Sunnydale, don’t get me wrong I love her speech that she wants to help Buffy and this is what she wants to do, but it’s all so very TV that they go to the same college and I hate it.

    • By the way though I’m not saying that Buffy/Angel should be together, this is just why their lack of future and their limbo state has never bothered me in season 3.

  2. The Good
    I enjoyed the aggressive, proactive tone set by “Choices”. From the opening fight, through the raid on the Mayor’s Office, to the Scoobies offering the trade, this is one episode that did not wait for the Big Bad to act first. Watching a reactionary protagonist can get boring, and it is nice to see Buffy show some initiative.

    I enjoyed elements of the Mayor’s Office raid. Each of the Scoobies had a support role to play, which reminded me of team heist films (Buffy’s Seven? The Mayor Job? Lock, Stock, and Two Dusted Vampires? Reservoir Demons?). The “chase after the speeding van” trick itself, whether it was part of the plan or quick thinking by Giles/Wesley, was an awesome trick.

    For the sake of time, here are the moments I also liked:
    • Giles’ father-figure reaction to Buffy’s college acceptance (weird if it didn’t happen)
    • Cordelia/Xander bickering pointed out (which sets the stage for…
    • …The Cordelia sub-plot (it wasn’t much, but it was a start)
    • The levitating pencil staking (a nice re-use from Dopplegangland)
    • Faith hurt by the Scoobies giving up on her (see? She’s not totally crazycakes)
    • The Mayor’s mind games/honest relationship advice (he said what we all have been thinking)
    • Willow’s confidence (yay for personal growth)

    This episode re-affirms that Wesley isn’t the rigid, scaredy-cat substitute watcher that I remember him when I watched BTVS for the first time. He advises Buffy not to take the fight to the Mayor, he points out that the Scoobies are throwing away a chance to stop the Mayor, and, instead of gloating, he pointed out the objective consequences of Buffy’s “Choices”. Sometimes Buffy needs the stern father figure to remind her of her duty, and that she is on the front line of a war. You try to avoid causalities, but they are necessary to win any war. Taking this responsibility away from Giles makes us trust him more as a substitute father figure, but slayer side of Buffy still benefits from a reality check from Wesley’s authority figure.

    Buffy and Angel FINALLY act like a couple in this episode. This time I felt the chemistry and believed in their deep desire for each other. At the same time, the actors displayed that paralyzing feeling when a cross roads is on the horizon and lover’s don’t want to admit that separating is best for both of them. This is the je ne sais quoi that was missing from recent episodes.

    The Bad
    Buffy’s motivation for going after the Mayor is pretty weak. The Hellmouth didn’t stop attracting/spitting out evil because she took care of the Master, so why would she be able to go to college in Illinois if she stopped the Mayor? Maybe this can be chalked up to her being 18 and a little naive.

    Now onto the caper itself. Buffy’s plan has unnecessary complications that do nothing but set up a fight. Why does Buffy need that ridiculous Mission: Impossible wire rig when she leaped into a bell tower last episode? A simple rope would do. Tie some knots in it if they needed to help out the stuntman (or stuntwoman, whatever). And how was Willow captured? It happens off-screen, so we have to use our imagination to fill in the gaps. We’re supposed to believe that Faith heard a commotion and didn’t go storming in to fray? Instead, she circled around to the roof access point to capture her nemesis’ mousey sidekick? I’m pretty sure that’s what vampire lackeys are for.

    While I enjoyed the episode as a whole, I feel like the writers bashed us over the head with the lesson that “bad things happen when a slayer becomes aggressive”. Instead, my take-away is “good guys get captured off-screen because we need an Act II plot turn”.

    Finally, I don’t believe that Willow’s parents would let her blow off multiple Ivy League schools to go to a community college. While it is admirable that Willow makes the choice herself, I’d rather see this resolved by Willow getting arrested for hacking or another Scooby activity that resulted in schools rescinding their offers.

    Favorite Moment
    I loved Oz knocking over the spell container to end the argument over destroying the box or trading it for Willow. It was efficient and dramatic and I loved everyone’s reaction to it. Check and Mate.

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