Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Earshot

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Season 3, Episode 18
Airdate September 21, 1999
Production Number 3ABB18
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Regis B. Kimble
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Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Three

Earshot is the eighteenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the fifty-second episode overall.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), David Boreanaz (Angel), Seth Green (Oz)

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce), Ethan Erickson (Percy), Danny Strong (Jonathan Levinson)

Co-Starring: Larry Bagby III (Larry), Keram Malicki-Sanchez (Freddy), Justin Doran (Hogan), Lauren Roman (Nancy), Wendy Worthington (Lunch Lady), Robert Arce (Mr. Beach), Molly Bryant (Ms. Murray), Rich Muller (Student), Jay Michael Ferguson (Another Student)


Plot Overview

Following a battle with a demon, Buffy develops the power of telepathy. At first excited, Buffy is soon overwhelmed with everyone's thoughts swimming in her head with no way to filter any out. Struggling to maintain sanity, she is also plagued with the knowledge that someone is planning on committing mass murder at school.


Monster of the Week

Buffy encounters two unnamed demons who communicate through telepathy and lack mouths. When someone comes in contact with their blood, they gain an "aspect of the demon", meaning that their telepathic powers are imbued into the infected host. Unchecked, the voices overwhelm the host and, in many cases, drive them insane. The only way to remove the aspect is to drink a concoction primarily made up of the demon's heart.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Demon Buffy Stabbed Playground
2 Demon Angel Killed Off-Screen Street


Arc Advancement


  • Vampire Lore: Buffy tries to use her temporary mind-reading powers on Angel and he lets her know that, as a vampire, his mind cannot be read. In his explanation, he tells her that like his lack of reflection, his thoughts make no impression on mind readers.



  • 3x06 - Band Candy: Giles and Joyce, while under the influence of chocolate enchanted to make them regress into teenagers, had sex off-screen. The last scene, where Buffy reveals that she knows the two had a moment, was written for the benefit of fans who, much to the disbelief of writer Jane Espenson, weren't sure if it had happened or not.
  • 2x15 - Phases: When a werewolf was prowling around town, Larry was the gang's first suspect. Xander opted to talk to him, believing that his experience with being possessed by a vaguely canine demon gave him better ground to confront a werewolf. However, Larry's secret was actually that he was a closeted homosexual and he immediately assumed that Xander was in the same boat.
Larry: I'm out! I'm so out my Grandma's setting me up with guys.


The Show

Behind the Scenes

  • International: Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been dubbed into many different languages and the title translated for each different international version. Some international translations of this episode's title are:
    • French: "Voix intérieures" ("Inner Voices")
    • German: "Fremde Gedanken" ("Thoughts of the Others")
    • Italian: "Poteri metafisici" ("Metaphysical Powers")
    • Japanese: "声が聞こえる距離" ("Koe ga Kikoeru Kiryo" - "Earshot")
  • Delayed: This episode was originally scheduled to air in April 1999, but was preempted by The WB in favor of airing a rerun of "Band Candy". A week before the airdate, two students at Columbine High School in Colorado killed 13 and wounded 23 before committing suicide themselves. The episode contains one scene of a student loading a gun, initially implying that he plans a massacre of his own until it's revealed that he was going to commit suicide with the weapon. Xander also makes a flippant remark about "taking out the whole place with a semi-automatic" and there is a conversation which follows about how "trendy" it is lately, both likely contributed to the decision. As a result, this episode was not aired in the United States until September 1999, although it was aired in several other countries in the correct order (which brought about the circulation of a bootleg copy of the episode online). Sarah Michelle Gellar personally lobbied the network to air the episode as scheduled, believing that it would help those affected by the Columbine tragedy but was shut out by the network. In addition to this episode, the season finale was preempted for "school violence concerns" and the Buffy novel The Evil That Men Do were also delayed.
  • Writing: When Jane Espenson began to write this episode, she immediately knew that she wanted the gun-toting student to be Jonathan, even though Danny Strong had only been given light comedic scenes in the past. Jonathan eventually becomes a more serious recurring character, particularly in season six.
  • The final scene with Giles walking into a tree was actually Anthony Head's last minute idea when it was shot. He had no idea Joss would let him get away with it.

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • Buffy: I'm suddenly gonna grow this demon part, and we don't even know what it is. It could be claws or scales... (off Willow's look) What?
Willow: Was it a boy demon?
  • Oz: (thinking) I am my thoughts. If they exist in her, Buffy contains everything that is me, and she becomes me. I cease to exist. (aloud) Hmm.
Xander: (thinking) What am I going to do? I think about sex all the time. Sex. Help. Four times five is thirty. Five times six is thirty-two. Naked girls. Naked woman. Naked Buffy. Oh, stop me.
Buffy: God, Xander! Is that all you think about?
Xander: Actually? Bye!
  • Buffy: You had sex with Giles? You had sex with Giles?
Joyce: It was the candy. We were teenagers.
Buffy: On the hood of a police car?
Joyce: I’ll be downstairs. You feel better.
Buffy: Twice?
  • Larry: Man, I'm out. I'm so out, I've got my grandma fixing me up with guys.
  • Buffy: (about Jonathan) It's nice to be able to help someone, in a non-Slaying capacity. Except he's starting to get that look. You know, like he's gonna ask me to Prom.
Giles: Well, it'd probably be good for his self-esteem, if you...
Buffy: Oh, come on, what am I, Saint Buffy? He's like three feet tall.
  • Giles: Feel up to some training?
Buffy: Sure, we could work out after school, you know, if you’re not too busy having sex with my mother.