Season 3 Episode 18 - Earshot
We find our heroine fighting with two ugly, mouthless, Creature-from-the-Black-Lagoon-esque demons. She tricks 'em with the old "run and stumble," and manages to kill one while the other one high-tails it out of there. Zoom in on Buffy's left hand: some glowing demon ooze is on the back of her hand and seems to seep into her skin and disappear. The same stuff is oozing out of the dead demon.
The next morning at school, the gang meets up in the library, where Giles informs them that he basically doesn't know anything definite about the Mayor's Ascension. He does know that it's not the ritual flaying of the demon Azorath (Giles doesn't know as much as we do — he hasn't seen the finale yet). During his speech, Buffy distractedly scratches her left hand. Wesley bustles in, acting like a know-it-all but knowing nothing more than Giles, and the gang walks out on him.
Out in the hallway, Buffy shares with Willow her worry that playing bad with Faith was too enjoyable for Angel. Percy and another basketball player, Hogan, come up to them — Willow is still tutoring Percy — to make sure they're going to the game. Turns out even Willow is getting into basketball now that SHS is in the Championships, and everyone's going to that night's game — except for poor little Buffy, who has to patrol. As the gang wanders off, she stands there feeling sorry for herself and realizes that she's scratching her hand.
Buffy goes to Giles to get some itch-counseling, and he finds in his books that touching these demons can cause one to be infected with an aspect of the demon. Buffy is not pleased, and hopes it's not the outside part (surely shallowness is justified, seeing how ugly these guys were).
At a pep rally afterwards, Cordy and the rest of the cheerleaders bounce around while the gang looks on. Willow reads the school paper and comments on the negative, depressing editorials written lately by a guy named Freddy. Buffy tells Willow what Giles said about the demon-thing, but Willow reassures her. Xander denounces Cordelia, but is dismayed to spot Wesley ogling "his" Cordy from afar with his "filthy, adult, Pierce-Brosnany-eyes."
That night, Angel surprises Buffy while she's patrolling (actually, while she's inspecting herself in the mirror, looking for demon aspects). Buffy laments her problems — demon infections, friends going to basketball games without her — and Angel reassures her that he'd love her no matter what. (Awww.)
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. Xander watches Cordy as she wanders off, and wonders to himself if she's ever kissed Wesley. Buffy empathizes with Xander, knowing the idea of them kissing bothers him. "You read my mind," says Xander ... and Buffy looks contemplative.
Buffy heads down the hallway distractedly and bumps into a teacher (Mr. Beech) — who she then hears wish (to himself) that they could just get rid of all the students. She proceeds to hear some other thoughts, including a boy who finds her very attractive, but the direction his thoughts take scare her away. She goes to Giles, who doesn't believe her at first — until she repeats back to him what he thought about her shoes. He realizes that the demons are telepathic, which is why they don't have mouths.
In class, Buffy reads another student's mind, Nancy (who hates Buffy), to impress the teacher with her deep thoughts about "Othello" — and then reads the mind of the teacher herself, pulling information from her dissertation. She also hears Willow's surprise that Buffy read and understood the book, Xander's lusty thoughts of the teacher, and Freddy Iverson's (the editorial writer) derisive thoughts about the other students' need for attention.
Buffy ducks off campus to use her newfound power on Angel, talking about Faith and trying to get some thoughts from him. Angel senses it and tells her mind-reading doesn't work on vampires. Instead, he instigates a real discussion, and he reassures her that being bad wasn't enjoyable for him, and he has no interest in bad girls like Faith. He also warns her that this mind-reading thing can have its drawbacks.
Back at school, Buffy tells the gang about her demon aspect, and finds herself hearing their thoughts. Oz waxes philosophical, Xander can't stop thinking about sex, Willow worries about Buffy's ability, Cordelia thinks exactly what she says, and Wesley thinks about Cordelia. Buffy leaves and, walking down the hall, hears more students' thoughts. Giles does some research and finds another case in which the power drove a man crazy, because it can't be turned off. Buffy heads to the cafeteria, where she is attacked with a barrage of other people's thoughts, getting louder and louder until suddenly it all goes quiet. Buffy hears one whispered thought: "This time tomorrow, I'll kill you all." Cut dramatically to commercial.
Still in the cafeteria, Buffy drops her food tray, earning applause from the students. She 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 ... outside, she comes to and finds the gang staring down at her. She tells them what she heard, but she doesn't even know if it was male or female. She wants to find the person, but Giles insists that she go home, so she assigns the gang to do the detective work. As Giles takes Buffy home, she hears him think that if the power doesn't go away, Buffy will go insane.
Willow takes charge of the investigation at school, while Joyce takes care of Buffy at home ... trying not to stay in the same room with Buffy. Suddenly we know why: Buffy sits up in bed as she realizes that Joyce had sex with Giles ... on the hood of a police car ... twice. A distraught Joyce insists it was the candy ("Band Candy") and runs away. (Excuses, excuses.)
An enjoyably assertive Willow gives the gang their assignments, with lists of questions to ask the suspects. Willow plays detective with Jonathan (we're loving her performance here). Oz interviews Hogan. Cordelia goes to Mr. Beech and asks him straight out if he planned to kill everyone tomorrow (somehow we're doubting that was in Willow's script). Xander uses the opportunity to quiz girls about their turn-offs and ideal dates. Oz goes looking for his next suspect, Freddy, but can't find him — he's hiding from Oz under a desk.
At home that night, Buffy is bombarded with the thoughts of her neighbors; shutting the window doesn't help. Giles and Wesley have figured 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.
The next morning, the search continues. Willow quizzes Nancy while Xander tries to get something out of Larry, who reveals that he has come out of the closet and suggests that Xander do the same. The gang gathers, realizing that Freddy is the only one they couldn't find, and they presume he is the would-be murderer.
At Buffy's house, Angel arrives — covering himself with a blanket — with the heart of the demon. He feeds the concoction to Buffy, who starts to flail around wildly.
Dramatic music tingles our senses as we see Jonathan up in the clock tower ... with a gun.
Buffy wakes up, Angel at her side. At school, the gang finally finds Freddie, who was hiding from Oz because of a bad review he wrote of Dingoes Ate My Baby, not because he wants to kill everybody. 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. I am sure you understand that I had to do it, and although death is never easy, it's the only way." They split up to find him, while he prepares his gun in the clock tower. Xander is distracted when he spots Jell-O in the cafeteria. Buffy spots Jonathan and uses some pretty impressive moves to get up there, bursting in to find Jonathan pointing the gun at her. Buffy reveals to Jonathan that the reason no one pays attention to him is because they're concerned with their own problems and worries and troubles. A sedated Jonathan hands her the gun, saying he just wanted it to stop. When Buffy points out that mass murder isn't the best method, Jonathan is perplexed: "I wouldn't ever hurt anybody! I came up here to kill myself."
Back in the cafeteria, Xander is sneaking some Jell-O when he spots the lunch lady pouring rat poison into the food. They lock eyes and hold still, until Xander breaks it and starts running through the cafeteria, trying to stop people from eating. The lunch lady comes at him with a butcher knife, but Buffy arrives in time to stop her and kicks her butt (not that the less-than-fit lunch lady had much of a chance against Buffy).
The next day; time for the recap. Jonathan is suspended, but he'll be OK. Giles proposes that Buffy train with him (Giles, not Jonathan) after school, to which Buffy pointedly replies, "Sure. If you're not too busy having sex with my mother!" And at that, Giles walks straight into a tree.