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Recap / Buffy the Vampire Slayer S3E18 "Earshot"

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"My life happens on occasion to suck beyond the telling of it. Sometimes more than I can handle. And itís not just mine. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because theyíre 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. Itís not. Itís deafening."
Buffy Summers

Directed by Regis Kimble

Written by Jane Espenson & Douglas Petrie

No graveyard this time. As a change of pace, we open on a playground. Our heroine fights with two ugly, mouthless, Creature-from-the-Black-Lagoon-esque demons. She manages to kill one while the other one hightails it out of there. Zoom-in on Buffy's left hand: some glowing goo seeps into her skin. Her hand starts to itch throughout the next day.

Buffy goes to Giles to get some itch-counseling. He picks a demon mug shot out some old book, and Buffy confirms it's the one. Giles says that touching these demons can cause one to be infected with an Aspect of the Demon.

During lunch, Xander jealously eyes Cordy as she wanders off, and wonders to himself if she's been making out with Wesley. Buffy empathizes with Xander, thinking that he's just spoken his thoughts aloud. "You read my mind", exclaims Xander. Buffy looks contemplative. She heads down the hallway distractedly and proceeds to zero in on everyone's inner thoughts. She goes to Giles, who is agape—but makes the logical leap that the demons didn't need mouths because they communicate telepathically. Buffy is excited to start playing with her new power. Giles suggests that she could anticipate her opponents' moves.

"Oh, way better than that!"

Cut to English class. Buffy cribs the answers from other students' minds, impressing the teacher. On the downside, Buffy also detects Willow's surprise that she actually read and understood a book, Xander's lusty thoughts of the teacher, and Freddy Iverson's (the editorial writer) disdain for all other living beings.

Next stop: Angel estates. Buffy uses her newfound power on Angel, talking about Faith and trying to provoke some thoughts from him. Angel gets wise to her act and tells her mind-reading doesn't work on vampires. He also warns her that this mind-reading thing can have its drawbacks.

Ruefully, Buffy returns to school, barraged by everyone's painful thoughts. In the cafeteria, the din grows louder until one thought comes through clearly:

"This time tomorrow, I'll kill you all."

Buffy runs around frantically, trying to figure out who said it, but she can't separate one thought from another. She freaks out, covers her ears, and faints. She comes to under a tree with the gang peering down at her. Buffy tries to barge back into the school, only to be driven backward as she is overwhelmed by random thoughts. Giles offers to take her home while the Scoobies investigate everyone who was in the cafeteria.

Giles and Wesley figure out how to cure Buffy, but they need the heart of the demon that got away. And lo and behold, Angel is out fighting said demon. Hours later, there's frantic knocking downstairs, and Wes opens the front door to admit Angel, under a smoking blanket. Angel holds up a glass flask containing a blue, glowing concoction. Angel supports Buffy's head and tips some of the blue liquid into her mouth. The medicine is worse than the sickness, but in time Buffy reawakens.

Dramatic music tingles as we see Jonathan up in the Clock Tower...with a rifle.

The gang compares notes, and learn that the only person they've been unable to find is Freddy Iverson. They finally corner him in his office, only to discover that he's been ditching Oz because of a bad review he wrote of Dingoes Ate My Baby. Buffy arrives, telepathy-free. Cordelia finds a letter to the editor from Jonathan, which says: "By this time tomorrow, you will all know what I have done".

The Scoobies split up to find him, while he prepares his gun in the clock tower. Ever-reliable Xander races into the cafeteria, but is distracted by some prepared bowls of America's favorite dessert, green Jell-O. In the quad, Buffy spots Jonathan and uses some impressive moves to reach the tower, bursting in to find Jonathan pointing the gun at her. Buffy talks Jonathan down by explaining that the reason no one pays attention to him is because they're concerned with their own anxieties. A pacified Jonathan hands her the gun, saying he came up there to kill himself.

Back in the cafeteria, Xander is about to scarf down some Jell-O when he catches sight of the lunch lady tipping a huge, cartoonish box labeled "RAT POISON" into the food. The maniac comes at him with a butcher knife, and is about to cleave Xander a new one when Buffy swoops in and disarms her.

Time for the recap. Jonathan is suspended, in therapy and less popular than ever due to his rifle-happy ways. Giles inquires if Buffy is ready to train. She agrees to work out after school, and then adds, "You know, if you're not too busy having sex with my mother!"



  • Accidental Hero:
    • While thinking that she is stopping Jonathan from shooting up the school, Buffy ends up preventing him from committing suicide and giving him a reason to live.
    • While running through the cafeteria, Xander becomes distracted when he notices bowls of Jell-O in the kitchen area. He sneaks in to grab a bite...and ends up discovering who the episode's true villain is when he sees the lunch lady pouring rat poison into a giant pot meant for the students. After sharing a Held Gaze with the lunch lady, Xander rushes out and knocks Jell-O out of various students' hands, yelling to let them know it's poisoned and alerting Buffy to the situation.
  • Alien Blood: A mouthless demon's fluorescent blood splashes onto Buffy's hand and gives her an "aspect of the demon", which turns out to be hearing people's thoughts.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Carnal desire, Xander be thy name.
    Buffy: And the boys in this school are seriously disturbed.
  • Answer Cut:
    • Giles and Wesley are in the library, mixing up a potion to cure Buffy. Giles expositions that the potion requires the heart of the second demon, and mutters snidely out of Wes's earshot, "How are we going to get it without a Slayer?" We cut the mouthless demon flying through the night air and smashing into a picnic table. Close on its heels is Angel, who has apparently agreed to procure the demon's heart (and has even vamped out to gain the necessary strength for the task).
    • Giles getting enthused about the use of mind-reading for Slaying.
      Giles: It could be very useful. You could anticipate your opponent's every move. Turn his plans against him.
      Buffy: Oh, way better than that. (Cut to Buffy cheating in literature class)
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Xander uses the opportunity to quiz girls about their turn-offs and ideal dates. "Smoking, insensitive men and Birkenstocks".
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Buffy defusing a school shooting:
    Jonathan: You think I just want attention?
    Buffy: No, I think you're up in the clock tower with a high-powered rifle because you wanna blend in.
  • Axes at School: Buffy gains the ability to read thoughts and discovers that someone was planning to kill everyone in the school. Cue Jonathan who is up on the abandoned clocktower putting together a high powered rifle to shoot himself with. Buffy stops him and he goes into therapy (whether he gets better is a matter of opinion, although he stops being suicidal). It turns out the would be mass murderer is the Evil Lunch Lady who is planning to poison the jello.
  • Backhanded Compliment: Angel surprises Buffy while she's patrolling (actually, while she's inspecting herself in her hand mirror, looking for demonic aspects).
    Angel: Hey. I'll still love you. Even if you're covered with slime.
    Buffy: [droopy] I liked everything until that part.
  • Bait-and-Switch: So, Buffy finds out that someone is going to go all mass-murdery on the school. We see Jonathan assembling a rifle in a clocktower. ...nope, turns out he was going to kill himself.
  • Betty and Veronica: Buffy worries that Angel is more attracted to bad girl Faith. Angel says he's already done the bad girl thing (presumably referring to Darla). In fact, over the centuries he's had dozens of girls like that. More.
  • Big Man on Campus: Hogan Martin, basketball star.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Buffy to the other Scoobies, who aren't saying anything. She tells them not to think too loud, or so much.
  • Blessed with Suck: Buffy fills in the rest of the gang on the recent development of her new power. Xander worriedly tries not to think about sex, but fails. Miserably. Oz waxes philosophical. Willow is excited at first, but then worries that Buffy will understand Oz in a way she never can, and that Buffy will no longer need her as a friend. Predictably, Cordelia thinks exactly what she says. One by one, Buffy drives away all her friends.
  • Brand X: RAT POISON.
  • Brawn Hilda: The lunch lady, though her stunt double is visibly not.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: At the end of the episode Willow wants to know if Buffy feels better about the situation with 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!
  • Brutal Honesty: We're finally given proof that Cordelia really does say exactly what she thinks.
    Cordy: (thinking) I don't see what this has to do with me.
    Cordy: (speaking) I don't see what this has to do with me.
  • Call-Back:
  • Caustic Critic: Freddy Wilson appears to have this reputation with the Sunnydale student body, as he tends to have a negative response to almost everything he writes about. He even thinks up an insult about over-eager students in the classroom and then makes sure to congratulate himself with a plan to remember the put-down for later. Subverted with his scathing review of Dingoes Ate My Baby, which Oz says is a fair assessment.
    Oz [reading] "Dingoes Ate My Baby played their instruments as if they had plump Polish sausages taped to their fingers."
    Freddy: Sorry man.
    Oz [beat] No, it's fair.
  • Chekhov's Gag:"I've been saying for years that the lunch lady's gonna do us all in with that mulligan stew".
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: After Buffy trips in the opening, one of the creatures looms over her. She unexpectedly flashes a smile (uh oh), then snap kicks its leg, knocking it into a swing set.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Buffy scans her classmates' minds and the teacher herself, pulling information from her dissertation.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Cordelia is less upset at Freddy's nihilistic rantings than at his neglecting to mention the cheerleaders. She has the same reaction to Jonathan's suicide note. "We are so unsung".
  • Contagious Powers: Buffy kills a demon that passes its telepathy onto her.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Oz is quite talkative in his own head. "I am my thoughts. If they exist in her, Buffy contains everything that is me. She becomes me. I cease to exist." Out loud this becomes, "Hm".
  • Conveniently Coherent Thoughts: Played straight, until the thoughts start to overwhelm Buffy.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Xander is about to catch a cleaver in the face when Buffy grabs the killer's arm.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Buffy is too distracted by telepathy to notice Mr. Beach, who bumps into her in the hall. "Ooo, whoa there", says the kindly old teacher, "You watch where you're going now". Buffy apologizes, but Beach's thoughts turn menacing as he skulks off. "Students. If we could just get rid of all the students...".
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Xander offhandedly remarks he suspects the lunch lady wants to poison everybody. Yeah right, Xander, like that would ever happen.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: Freddy has one on display in the school paper office.
  • Damned by Faint Praise:
    • In a Call-Back to "Doppelgangland", Hogan feigns disbelief at Percy's tutoring. "I actually heard him complete a sentence", he tells Willow. "It had a clause and everything".
    • At the pep rally, Oz muses that the cheerleaders' spelling has improved.
  • Delicious Distraction: Xander with Jell-O.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Freddy's editorial, "BIG GAME DRAWS MINDLESS BRAIN DEAD MOB".
  • Dirty Mind-Reading:
    • In the hall, Buffy passes one boy who thinks to himself how attractive Buffy is. She stops briefly to tune in to his admiration, but quickly scurries off when his thoughts turn more lascivious.
    Buffy: And the boys at this school are seriously disturbed!
    • She also finds out that her mother had sex with Giles. On the hood of a police car. Twice.
    • She also hears Wesley mentally perving on Cordelia.
  • Dramatic Drop: Shocked by the evil voice, Buffy drops her food tray, earning applause from the cafeteria.
  • Ear Worm: Thanks to her mind-reading powers Buffy discovers that Principal Snyder has "Walk Like An Egyptian" by The Bangles stuck in his head.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: "Man, you read my mind".
  • Everyone Has Standards: Jonathan is horrified when he realizes Buffy thought he was planning a mass shooting. As he put it, he doesn't want to hurt anyone but himself.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Willow takes charge of the investigation, playing Rabid Cop with Jonathan (again). Cordelia goes to Mr. Beach and bluntly asks him if he plans to kill everyone tomorrow (somehow, I doubt that was in Willow's script). Xander gets sidetracked and schmoozes with some girls. Oz goes looking for his next suspect, Freddy, but can't find him—he's hiding under a desk.
  • Expo Label: The box of Rat Poison with "Rat Poison" on it.
  • Fainting Seer: Buffy goes around grabbing people, trying to find the source of the voice she heard. She puts her hands to her head to block out everything, and the camera goes all woozy until Buffy faints.
  • False Reassurance: Giles walks Buffy to the car and tries to reassure her when Buffy asks if she'll be okay. Giles says, "You'll be fine. I promise". To himself, Giles thinks, "If it doesn't go away, she'll go insane".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Buffy tells her friends that someone was thinking about killing students, Xander quips that the lunch lady will "do us all in with that Mulligan stew".
    • Also for "Superstar", when Willow questions Jonathan.
    We all have fantasies that we're powerful, more respected. Where people pay attention to us. But sometimes the fantasy isn't enough, is it Jonathan? Sometimes we have to make it so people don't ignore us. Make them pay attention.
    • Buffy jokes that Jonathan will ask her out to prom. At the prom Jonathan presents her with the Class Protector award for saving not only his life but many other Sunnydale students.
  • The Freelance Shame Squad: Everyone in the cafeteria claps when Buffy drops her tray.
  • Funny Background Event: Two students walking behind Buffy and Giles do a double-take at the end of the episode, clearly hearing her tell him that she knows he slept with her mother.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Giles researches a case similar to Buffy's, except that the man in question has had to go into complete isolation to avoid being driven insane.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Buffy's not sure if she can trust Angel, because it looked as if he were enjoying his tongue-wrestling session with Faith a little too much. This is mirrored by her teacher's lecture about everyone having "internal Iagos".
  • Good Is Not Nice: In the epilogue, Buffy's afraid that Jonathan's starting to "get that look", meaning that he'll ask her to prom. Giles suggest it might be a charitable gesture. "What am I, Saint Buffy?", she balks. "He's like three feet tall!"
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: Jonathan mailed his suicide note to the school paper, though it is vague enough to suggest he intends to pop off his classmates.
  • He Knows Too Much: Xander lifts a bowl of Jell-O to his mouth. As he does so, he looks up at the lunch lady pouring rat poison into a pot and stops in his tracks. They lock eyes and hold still, the lunch lady frozen in mid-pour as if searching for a plausible explanation. Finally, she grabs a butcher knife and charges at him.
  • Hermaphrodite: Willow suddenly wondering if it was a boy demon that touched Buffy leads to the fear that she will turn into this.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Giles reads the highlights of his research on the the Mayor's Ascension. He does know that it's not the ritual flaying of the demon Azarath, but then trails off, admitting that he really has no clue what's going to happen. During his speech, Wesley bustles in, acting like a know-it-all because he has access to the resources of the Council. Giles reluctantly tells him to go ahead. Wesley draws himself up to his full height and begins, "Well, I am pleased to state, with certainty, that the demon Azarath will not in any way be involved-" and the gang files out in disgust.
    • Xander sneering at Sunnydale High's hoops stars.
      Xander: Hogan Martin thinks he's sooooo hot. Like we should all be awed by him cuz he can put a ball in the net.
      Hogan: Hey Xander.
      Xander: He said my name. He knows my name!
    • The next day at school, the Slayerettes are oohing and aahing over last night's game, but shush up when Buffy arrives, saying the game wasn't so great. Cordelia jumps in to make it clear that Buffy missed the game of a lifetime.
    • On the court, Xander watches Cordelia cheerleading and wonders aloud what he ever saw in her. Suddenly, he spots Wesley ogling Cord in the distance and goes mad with jealousy.
      "He's got his filthy adult Pierce Brosn-y eyes all over my Cordy!"
    • Wesley points out that since Buffy can hear everyone's thoughts, they need to have mental discipline in order to not broadcast their thoughts to Buffy. Within seconds, Wesley thinks about Cordelia in a highly inappropriate way. Buffy smirks at Wesley, and he excuses himself from the room in embarrassment.
    • Also vertically-challenged Buffy rejecting Jonathan as a prom date because he's too short.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: Joyce gives a bedridden Buffy a wide berth. "I— ...I have laundry".
  • In-Joke: According to Jane Espenson, Joss Whedon hates having demons with tails on the show, as the tails almost never look realistic. That was parodied in this episode, with Buffy checking if she has one.
  • Interrogation Montage: The gang splits up to investigate who might be the potential killer. The scene cuts between Willow, Xander, Oz and Cordelia interrogating different people around the school.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Buffy arrives just in time to stop Jonathan from killing himself, even though that wasn't exactly why she was there.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Oz 'interviews' one of his suspects, Hogan Martin, by asking if he's pressured to be "the guy who does everything right", and if so, how much of a strain is it to maintain this "false persona"?
    Hogan: I guess... Moderate strain? [earnestly] Is that a good answer? I wanna get this right.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Lauren E. Roman and Sarah Michelle Gellar reunite in this episode from their days on All My Children, in which Lauren played Laura Kirk English and Sarah played Kendall Hart.
  • Kirk Summation: The lunch lady is about to cleave Xander a new one when Buffy appears and grabs her arm. The lunch lady is of the opinion that high-school students are vermin and filth. Buffy: "I don't see this being solved with logic".
  • Lame Comeback: Buffy, snapping at Xander, asks if sex is all thinks about. Xander: "Actually... [Beat] Bye". He bolts.
  • Le Parkour/Super Window Jump: In the quad, Buffy runs straight up the balustrade of the stairway. She then does a back-flip up onto the roof tiles, and then somersaults into Jonathan's sniper nest through the slatted window.
    Nancy: I could have done that.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: At the library, Willow distributes assignments for everyone. "Today, people!" she snaps. They skedaddle, but not before Willow reminds them to "write neatly!"
  • Liquid Assets: The "Aspect of the Demon".
  • Little Dead Riding Hood: Buffy wears a red hoodie during her Decoy Damsel scene.
  • Little Red Fighting Hood: In the opening when Buffy is pretending to be a Victim of the Week to lure out a demon, she's wearing a red hoodie.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Social Life: Buffy can't go to the game with her friends because she has to patrol.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: This happens to Buffy. The problem more arises from being overloaded with hearing people's thoughts, as opposed to being shocked at what people are truly thinking. Though she was surprised to learn that All Men Are Perverts.
    Buffy: You had sex with Giles?... You had sex with Giles!... On the hood of a police car?!... Twice?!
    Xander's internal monologue: Four times five is thirty. Five times six is thirty-two...Naked girls...Naked women...Naked Buffy!
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • The Xander/Larry scene, but another one that's easily missed is what Buffy suddenly blurts out "No, I do need you!" (answering Willow's thoughts as opposed to what she's saying) to which Cordy says, "Ok, what are you talking about? Because you are soooo creepy right now".
    • And the one with Xander wasn't quite intended as this at the time. Joss wanted to make either Xander or Willow gay in season 4, and before he decided on Willow he put in possible foreshadowing for both of them.
  • Monster of the Aesop: Or in this case Monster Power of the Aesop. Telepathy is used to shown how everyone is too busy with their own troubles to care what everyone else's are.
  • Mundane Utility: Buffy uses her powers to cheat in class.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: Buffy accidentally gets telepathy, she starts hearing everyone's thoughts all the time. This not only overwhelms her, but it will inevitably cause her to go crazy unless the telepathy is removed. There was one other person to have gotten this, and he ended up in complete isolation, away from any other people.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Freddy of the misanthropic editorials dismissively thinks, "Look at them, scrambling for the teacher's praise like pigeons for old bread crusts", then decides he should write that down because it's "deep".
  • No Mouth: The demons in question are telepathic, and thus don't need 'em.
    Willow: I don't like this whole 'no mouth' thing. It's disquieting.
    Buffy: Well, no mouth means no teeth. [On Second Thought] Unless they have them somewhere else...
  • No Name Given: Unusually for the Buffyverse, the mouthless demons aren't named.
  • No-Sell: Buffy tries using her newfound telepathy to ready Angel's mind. Turns out vampires are immune to telepathy.
    Angel: It's like the mirror. The thoughts are there, but they create no reflection in you.
  • No Sympathy: Buffy agrees with Jonathan that neither she nor anyone else cares about him, because they're all wrapped up in their own troubles. Nevertheless, she saves his life and is relieved at the end that he's going to therapy.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Jonathan scoffs at Buffy for presuming to know his pain. "Oh, right! 'cause the burden of being beautiful and athletic, that's a crippler!" Duly ticked off, Buffy carefully explains that sometimes her life "sucks beyond the telling of it".
  • Obligatory Joke: Angel warns that Buffy should be careful with her new power, because things that seem good on the surface can be painful.
    Buffy: Like, say, immortality?
    Angel: Exactly. I'm dying to get rid of that.
    Buffy: Funny.
    Angel: [deadpan] I'm a funny guy.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: The stunt double for the lunch lady is noticeably thinner than the more heavyset actress who plays the character.
  • Oh, Crap!: Xander's face when he learns of Buffy's power. First Willow then Buffy at the idea the aspect of the demon might turn her Transgender.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Buffy accidentally reads her mother's mind and... well:
    Buffy: (extremely outraged) You had sex with Giles?! You had sex with Giles!?! On the hood of a police car?! TWICE?!!
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: During the library confab, Wesley bustles in ("Terribly sorry, I was detained. Official Council business") and asks Giles what he was talking about.
    Giles: I was just filling Buffy in on my progress regarding the research on the Ascension.
    Wesley: Oh? And what took up the rest of the minute?
  • Power Glows: The demon's blood.
  • Power Incontinence: When Buffy is accidentally infected with a demon's telepathic powers and can't stop reading minds, she nearly goes insane.
  • Power Perversion Potential: There's been some...interesting stories about the aspect of the demon.
  • Prison Rape: Buffy was about to suggest this as Jonathan's fate if he were to commit mass murder.
  • Psychic Block Defense: Angel tells Buffy that her parlor tricks won't work on him because, like mirrors, "The thoughts are there, but they create no reflection in you".
  • Quip to Black: Whump! Poor Giles.
  • Race Against the Clock: "This time tomorrow, I'll kill you all".
    • Lunchtime? Well, that should have been the tip-off.
  • Red Herring: An unidentified person is planning a mass murder. The two obvious suspects are Jonathan, a lonely nerd and Ascended Extra who comes to school with a large gun but turns out to be Bait-and-Switch suicidal; and Freddy, a pessimistic school newspaper writer who hides suspiciously when Oz goes looking for him (it turns out he was making himself scarce because he thought Oz was going to beat him up for his recent bad review of Dingoes Ate My Baby). The real culprit is found in an absurd moment (foreshadowed by an offhand joke Xander fired earlier): Xander walks in on a cafeteria worker pouring rat poison into the food, gets spotted, and then runs.
  • Rescue Romance: Lampshaded by Buffy after she stops Jonathan from killing himself.
    "He's starting to get that look, you know, like he's gonna ask me to prom."
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Xander jokes that the lunch lady has been trying to take them out for years with her Mulligan Stew. Turns out, the would-be mass murderer is the lunch lady, pouring rat poison into the Mulligan Stew.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Freddy's office is filled with his grim editorials.
  • Rule 34: "Was it a boy demon?" is a mildly popular target of this.
  • Rule of Drama:
    • Given the length of the rifle, and the shortness of his arms, the only way Jonathan could have shot himself would've been by pulling the trigger with his toe.
    • Jonathan climbing to the top of a clock tower and assembling a sniper rifle for a suicide.
  • Rule of Three: Giles tells Buffy that it's likely that she has been infected with an aspect of the demon.
    Buffy: Infect? Infect?
    [Giles is still reading]
    Buffy: Giles.
    [he glances up]
    Buffy: INFECT?!
  • Saying Too Much: Or Thinking Too Much.
  • School Newspaper News Hound: Willow mentions how depressing the school paper has become since Freddy took over. Oz says that he doesn't notice, as he always skips right ahead to the obits.
  • Scully Syndrome: At first, Giles doesn't believe that Buffy can read minds—until she repeats back to him what he thought about her shoes. "If a fashion magazine told her to, she'd wear cats strapped to her feet".
  • Shaped Like Itself: One of the headlines in Freddy's school newspaper is; "APATHY ON THE RISE — NO-ONE CARES".
  • Smarter Than You Look: Even Willow is astounded by Buffy's aptitude in class.
    Willow: Buffy did the reading? Buffy understood the reading?"
    Xander: When did she study? Was I supposed to study? Ms. Murray's kinda hot.
  • Sniper Rifle: The rifle Jonathan uses is a modified Ruger Model 77 Mark 2, which has been custom converted to break down in a carrying case.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Willow gushes about she's never seen anyone jump like Hogan Martin! "They should call him The Jumper".
    Xander: Or a name that isn't an article of women's clothing.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Angel tells Buffy she could have just asked what his feelings were re Faith. Buffy replies that would have made too much sense.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Buffy jumps when she turns round to see Angel standing behind her.
    "Sorry. I didn't see you, so I should have known you were there."
  • Stunned Silence: Everyone just stares dumbly at Xander when he suggests everybody has "idly thought about takin' out the whole place with a semi-automatic".
    Xander: I said idly.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal / Motive Misidentification: Buffy thinks she is talking down a school mass shooter. She does succeed, but it turns out Jonathan was not intending on a shooting spree, but suicide.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The lunchlady plans on putting rat poison in the food.
  • Teacher's Pet: Nancy.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    • Buffy, discussing her itch problem with Giles, is obliged to mention that it was "A good touch. Not a bad touch".
    • "I still have knee marks on my back!" (beat) "From the pyramid!"
  • Think Unsexy Thoughts / Psychic Static: Xander attempts (and fails) to recite the times tables in his head:
    Xander: "Four times five is thirty. Five times six is thirty-two. Naked girls. Naked women! And naked Buffy! Oh, stop me!"
  • The Triple: Willow tries to reassure Buffy as Buffy lists the possibilities of what demon part she could end up with, like "claws, or scales". Willow's eyes go wide with fear. "Was it a boy demon?"
  • Tuckerization: Hogan Martin was named after a gymnast with whom Jane Espenson went to school.
  • Twisted Ankle: Exploited in the cold open. A mouthless demon chases Buffy into a playground and she trips, but it's a clever feint.
    "You demons can't resist a run and stumble, can you?"
    • Double subverted when the demon turns out to be pulling the same trick so his companion can sneak up on Buffy.
  • Unpredictable Results: Buffy doesn't know what the Aspect of the Demon will be, and worries if she's going to grow horns and a tail. Willow wonders if Buffy will grow something else.
  • Very Special Episode: The episode deals with a fringe character planning to commit suicide and included a PSA after the episode aired.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: When Giles walks into the tree at the end of the episode, it was actually Anthony Stewart Head's idea to Throw It In, although he had never dreamed that Joss Whedon would let him get away with it.invoked
  • Wham Line: "I would never hurt anybody! I came up here to use that on myself".
  • You Are in Command Now: Willow organizes the hunt for the mass murderer while Buffy is incapacitated.