The School Shooting Episode

SEASON 3, EPISODE 18 "EARSHOT"

Watching ‘Earshot' in the wake of the Parkland, FL shootings or the YouTube shooting today is hard. 

In 2018, we take school shootings seriously. 

In 1999, we didn’t. 

 Please enjoy this shitty screenshot of a well-made monster

Please enjoy this shitty screenshot of a well-made monster

After getting swiped by a mouthless demon, Buffy is cursed with the ability to hear people’s thoughts. 

Buffy learns quickly that:

• Xander wants to fuck everyone

• Cordelia says exactly what she thinks

• Oz has deep thoughts

• Joyce fucked Giles

• Angel doesn’t have thoughts

And in a school crowd, Buffy overhears the thoughts of someone new: someone who is planning on killing everyone at school.  

There are handful of suspects: a misanthropic journalist, a gay man, a loser, the lunch lady. 

Buffy doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking why you’d want to kill your classmates. The potential mass murderer is just the monster of the week and everyone has a motive:

XANDER

Yeah. I mean, who hasn’t just idly 

thought about taking out the whole 

place with a semi-automatic?

(off their looks)

I said idly.

I can’t help it. If I’m going to copy/paste one great line, I have to include this one too:

XANDER

I’m still having trouble with the idea 

that one of us is just gonna gun 

everybody down for no reason.

CORDELIA

(sarcastically)

Yeah, ‘cause that never happens in 

American high schools.

OZ

It’s bordering on trendy at this point.

Guh. Trendy. 

Look up the air date of ‘Earshot’ and you learn that this episode was intended to run on April 21st 1999, the day after the Columbine massacre. 

The producers responded by running the episode out of sequence, airing more than 5 months later, on September 21st.

Obviously, running a tv-show with a school shooter in it a day after Columbine would be a terrible decision, but Buffy’s school shooter is also a tower shooter, which in a show full of references would be an immediately dated reference. 

The Buffy shooter references the University of Texas tower shooting from August 1, 1966. Other school shootings took place between 1966 and 1998, but the U of T shooting was massive by comparison. 

In scale off violence, the U of T shooting is even slightly larger than Columbine. 15 people died and 21 were injured in Columbine. The U of T shooter killed 17 people and injured 31. 

The already aged reference (30+ years) lets the writers have fun with a serious subject, which I enjoyed seeing. It’s incredible to see what a difference time makes in how media gets created. Buffy’s Tower Shooter seems almost like a Universal Monster. Lumbering, detached, inevitable, slowly assembling a rifle. 

The Columbine massacre gave the school shooter monster a fresh coat of paint. And so did Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Parkland.

 "He's in the belltower"

"He's in the belltower"

Watching ‘Earshot’ is like looking into an alternate dimension. You know something more terrible is about to happen and that the insane tragedy that they treat lightly is only just about to repeat itself.  

Earshot would be a typical episode of Buffy, but it gets an eerie emotional resonance for reminding you of what a slightly less damaged world looked like. 

What Can I Say, I'm The World's Best Actor

Season 3, Episode 17 "Enemies"

Lets talk about Enemies! Add any thoughts and observations in the comments and lets chat!

’Enemies’ isn’t the most 'fun' episode that I’ve seen in season 3 of Buffy, but it has a few standout/weird moments 

Angel and Buffy catch a foreign film

l’banquet d’amelia is a pretty wonderful riff on indy films, clearly a reference to the classic, creepy sex in Last Tango in Paris. In the scene that the world is always referencing when they talk about this film, Brando uses butter as lube before raping a woman.

If you imagine that Buffy just watched a film where the lead lady was love/raped by her beau, everything about this opening scene with Angel makes sense.

You know it’s a creepy scene when the only 'unedited' links you can find are on DailyMotion.

UPDATE: In the original version of this post I had a link to a DailyMotion video that has since been removed for copyright infringement. It looks like you'll have to rent Last Tango if you want to see that rape scene. 

  Angel pretends to be Angelus!

Angel pretends to be Angelus!

I was totally triggered by the Angelus appearance. I'm incredibly happy that this turned out to be a trick. You tricked me Angel. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the world's greatest actor is acting. 

I actually love Angel in Season 3. He saves Xander from Faith and I love that stupid appearance of his in ‘Bad Girls’.

But I can't handle Angelus. More Angel is fine. 

Buffy is a ‘B’ this Episode

Elizabeth brings this up in the podcast, and I totally agree. Buffy is incredibly cruel to Angel. He does everything that she asks, but she’s so clearly miffed by his supposed moment with Faith that she needs a break. 

Final Thoughts?

This is a lesser episode for me. It doesn’t feel like a ‘must-watch’. 

I need to cleanse my palate after watching that Brando clip, and so I'll be watching My Love From Another Star (K-Drama) – which is streaming now on DramaFever, which I assume you already know about if you’re deep into K-Dramas. 

Let me know your thoughts about this episode. Is this a must-see? Does anything important develop here – or are we just stalling until the Mayor's Ascension!

 

 

“I’m so evil and skanky...and I think I’m kinda gay”

Season 3, Episode 16 "Doppelgangland"

The episode title has a great pun on Doppelgänger that implies a lot more mob violence than it delivers, but it makes up for it by asking the toughest of questions:

What would you do if you ran into your double?

Do you fuck it? Or do you kill yourself? And if you’re not normally aroused, maybe you team up and work on that startup idea. 

Doppelgangland has the weirdest/best moment of fan service that I’ve yet seen: 

 The now 'classic' scene of Willow/Willow selfcest

The now 'classic' scene of Willow/Willow selfcest

 

I know from being alive that at some point Willow’s character comes out as gay on the show, however I was still surprised that Willow took the opportunity to come onto herself. I get that Dark Willow is pretty evil and wants to do the opposite of what Willow wants to do – but selfcest is weird, even if you’re a vampire.

But you know...why not? If I came onto me maybe I would. 

It’s such a great scene that it really overshadows the rest of the episode for me. I want to see Double Willows work together to conquer the world. It’s a shame sometimes when characters are boring and good. 

 Hot for Watcher

Hot for Watcher

Cordelia’s crush on Wesley is cute. It’s fun to see her character taking an interest in a different sort of guy. It’s still unclear to me what sets off Cordelia’s attraction, but I love seeing an old virgin squirm.  

 Holy shit! Special K is the band that plays at The Bronze. They're pretty good and I'd totally forgotten about them!

Holy shit! Special K is the band that plays at The Bronze. They're pretty good and I'd totally forgotten about them!

 Anya meeting up with a friend before school

Anya meeting up with a friend before school

In this episode, we learn a little more about Anya…but not much. She seems like a convenient device for creating alternate dimensions when Ethan Rayne isn’t around. My guess is that her story and the mayor’s story are going to come together at the end of this season. 

For me, this is a must watch episode along with The Wish. I have enjoyed every episode where Willow isn’t herself or plays against character – it’s way more interesting to see her discover her character vs any episode that explores how Faith is a shitty person or how Angel and Buffy can’t be together. 

So what do you think about Doppelgangland? Where does it rank in the patheon of Buffy eps so far?

And what do you do when you run into your doppelgänger? I think I’d go for the team up. 

 

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