Review by Mikelangelo "MikeJer" Marinaro
Posted by MikeJer on January 9, 2006Writer: Jane Espenson
Director: Regis Kimble
This is a retrospective review and may contain spoilers from anywhere in the series. Read at your own peril.
Kudos to writer Jane Espenson for this little gem! Here lies a mostly stand-alone episode which does what BtVS is best at: using a supernatural device, telepathy in this case, as a method to say something profound about life. What really propels this above the rest is the fantastic writing. Buffy's clocktower scene with Jonathan is quite powerful and very applicable. The rest of the happenings involve a whole lot of misleads and a ton of snappy humor. Aside from a couple relatively small problems I was very entertained from start to finish.
This time around I'll begin with the one thing I didn't like. That would be Buffy's contuining distrust of Angel and his feelings for her. I went on about this in my review of "Enemies" (3x17) so I won't beat it over the head here. I am pleased that Willow is at least giving her solid advice. Willow says, "just talk to him." I'm also glad that she took Willow's advice and cleared up that nonsense.
I really appreciated the amount of side characters used here. Not only does this work to give the viewers more choices of who could be committing the murder, but it also gives the writers an opportunity to continue developing characters like Larry and Jonathan which is always good. Jonathan is the one who's getting a lot of attention though. He has become a really fascinating character over the first few seasons. A lot of things add up to his suicide attempt here. The biggest foreshadowing of this was in "Go Fish" (2x20) when some jocks were dunking his head in water and ridiculing him. Buffy helps him and he seems angry and embarassed about it. Jonathan says to Buffy in the clocktower "I just wanted it to stop." If the suicide attempt hadn't been by Jonathan this sequence wouldn't have been nearly as meaningful. We kind of know and feel for him and his development logically leads to this. This was an incredibly smart move by the writers.
Buffy's side of the clocktower scene was even more telling. The telepathy ability could have been used completely for laughs, but instead we get laughs and a vital discovery about teenagers in general. She tells Jonathan "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." I think Buffy's speech speaks for itself!
A smaller scene I really adored is when Buffy goes to see Angel right after getting her telepathy. Her intent is to read his mind and find out what this guy is thinking all the time. I have a feeling a lot of girls would love to be able have this ability with their boyfriends, and likely vice versa. But Buffy can't read Angel because he's a vampire! This forces them to just sit down and communicate to each other. Once again, words have been getting in the way of truthfully talking to each other. "Hush" (4x10) is an entire episode devoted to this idea. The lesson is to simply express you're feelings to your partner in an honest and nice way; you're likely to get an honest and nice response back as Angel gives here.
There's a few things I wasn't happy about along the way, but this is a fantastic ride. Several misleads, lots of laughs, great writing, and powerful drama. This episode rocks!
Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)
QuotesGILES:You touched one of the demons?
BUFFY:A good touch, not a bad touch.
GILES:It says they can infect the host.
BUFFY:Infect? Infect? (Giles is still reading) GILES! INFECT!?
BUFFY:(beginning of pep rally) Is it me or is this really lame?
OZ:I don't know. I usually enjoy lameness, and this is leaving me kinda cold.
WILLOW:Well, according to Freddy's latest editorial, 'the pep rally is a place for psuedo-prostitutes to provoke men into a sexual frenzy which, when thwarted, results in pointless athletic competition.'
BUFFY:I'm suddenly going to grow this demon part and we don't even know what it is. It could be claws or scales... What?
WILLOW:(worried) Was it a boy demon?
WILLOW:Could you believe it? Right at the buzzer. Three points for the win.
OZ:It was intense.
XANDER:Yeah, for a minute there I thought you're gonna make an expression.
OZ:Well, I felt one coming on. I won't lie.
BUFFY:It was happening out in the hallway. Principal Snyder has Walk Like an Egyption stuck in his head. And the boys at this school are seriously disturbed.
XANDER:(V.O.) What am I gonna do? I think about sex all the time! Sex! Help! 4 times 5 is 30. 5 times 6 is 32. Naked girls. Naked Women! Naked Buffy! Oh stop me!
BUFFY:God Xander! Is that all you think about?
XANDER:Actually... bye. (Xander runs from the library)
BUFFY:(to Giles and Cordelia) Guess I won't be writing that book, 'Gaining Friends through Telepathy.'
BUFFY:Mom, please, just come sit with me.
JOYCE:I've uh, I've got laundry.
BUFFY:Why are you...? (she bolts up in bed) You had sex with Giles!? YOU HAD SEX WITH GILES!?
JOYCE:(turns to hurry out of the room) It was the candy! We were teenagers!
BUFFY:On the hood of a police car!?
JOYCE:I'll be downstairs. You feel better. (she hurries away)
BUFFY:(calling after her) TWICE!?
CORDELIA:Hi Mr. Beech! I was just wondering, were you planning on killing a bunch of people tomorrow? (smiles) Oh, it's for the yearbook!
WILLOW:So you're feeling better about Angel?
BUFFY:Well, we talked, and then he ripped out the heart of a demon and fed it to me, and then we talked some more.
WILLOW:See! That's how it should work!
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!
:(Giles walks into a tree)
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