Buffy 5×09: Listening to Fear

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Rebecca Rand Kirshner | Director: David Solomon | Aired: 11/28/2000]

This is a decent, if flawed, episode about the horrors of illness. The episode succeeds when it focuses on Joyce and it fails when it focuses on the semi-lame demon from space. I say ‘semi’ because in the sequence at Buffy’s house the creature is pretty effective in its creepiness being in the midst of the sadness that is looming all over that home. Another problem I see is a pace that is just a bit too slow. This one’s a mixed bag, although more excellent acting all around causes it to get its point across successfully.

Even though Joyce is out of it most of the time, she’s really the focus of everyone’s concerns here. I can understand her not wanting to wait around in a hospital for her operation. That’d drive me crazy too. Willow getting the Summers’ family individual presents to help cheer them up is both sweet and kind. I especially like the beer hat for Joyce and the homework with yoyo for Buffy (very fun continuity there going way back). Joyce’s sudden snap into abrasive words is pretty jarring. Later on she says, “No reason to get upset? Oh, right, sorry, I must just think there is because of my brain tumor!,” which is also very abrupt and scary to hear her say, especially in front of Dawn as I’m so used to Joyce being so soft-spoken and kind. I have to say that I’m a bit surprised by how fast Joyce’s symptoms manifested. I guess the writers didn’t want to drag out the “Joyce is ill” subplot for too long, and I have to say I think it was a wise decision.

I also found Joyce’s randomness in speech back at the house later to be really effective. It’s creepy in a realistic way that really hits home for me. I’ve gone through losing someone to a disease, and I’ve seen that person do a lot of weird and random stuff. I really appreciated seeing Joyce unaware of what she’s saying, randomly thinking it’s breakfast time and insulting Buffy. Joyce’s rambling upstairs, when there’s actually the demon right above her, is really sad to see. I have memories of being in Dawn’s position of hearing a sick loved one through the wall having lots of pain and confusion in a room adjacent to mine, it’s scary and not at all easy.

The emotion-filled final scene with Joyce asking Buffy to promise to protect and take care of Dawn in case she doesn’t make it is really tough to see. Buffy’s expression when she hugs her mom is one of sadness and fright that this might be it; she really might lose her mom. The very final shot of the doctors taking Joyce away into surgery is obviously intended to make us think that was really her farewell. I now, in retrospect, love the way Whedon handled this plot thread. We get all the goodbyes, tears, and promises early on in the season. Then Joyce seems fine again only to suddenly die later from a complication of the surgery taking place now. This way we get all the goodbye talk out of the way and can simply experience the shock of an unexpected death without feeling completely cheated from losing a beloved character.

All throughout the episode Buffy is trying to hold herself together. She turns on the radio while washing dishing to drown out her mom’s loud rantings from upstairs. Unfortunately the sound of a crazy happy radio song combined with the mundane task of washing dishes that undoubtedly her mom would usually take care of, are the things that finally work to make Buffy emotionally break down all the way. SMG is heart-breaking in this scene. I so feel for her (as I often do), and she makes me want to be there to offer some comfort because she looks so genuinely scared and sad; an excellent, realistic scene. In classic Buffy fashion, she faces her pain alone.

There’s some other interesting bits to talk about besides Joyce and Buffy though. The gang’s patrol without Buffy and Willow’s giddiness after staking two vamps in the intro is highly amusing. I’m sure Buffy expected Riley to be there helping out, but instead he’s started the vamp suck jobs, sulking over Buffy not wanting him every second of the day. It’s at this point where I lose my sympathy for Riley — he’s gone too far here, although I still understand why he’s doing it.

The Willow/Tara scene on the rooftop is really sweet. She says that looking at the stars is supposed to make you feel all insignificant, but that instead they make her feel like she’s a part of them and therefore significant. I can’t help but see this as a bit of a commentary on Willow. Before she had many friends, or many self-confident ones, she essentially viewed herself as an insignificant nerd. Just remember back to how she reacted when Buffy said, “Uh, Hi! Willow, right? ,” and she replied “Why? I-I mean, hi! Uh, did you want me to move?” in “Welcome to the Hellmouth” [1×01] . Now, over the years of becoming part of the Scooby family, she’s much more secure with herself and feels much more significant.

The major fault of this episode is the space demon, which is silly even before we find out what it is. How is it that no one can see this huge thing crawling around the ceiling? It’s called ‘peripheral vision’ people! However, the demon’s a lot more effective when in Buffy’s house, mostly because you can’t really see it very well. It actually becomes a bit creepy during this sequence. Overall, though, I feel this episode does its job well of showing us the very icky horrors of illness and its affect on the people around it. It’s also a lot better than I originally thought. Flawed, but nonetheless good.

Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ I believe the same guy chained up by Glory in “No Place Like Home” [5×05] is the crazy guy that can tell Dawn’s the Key here and says there’s “no data” there.
+ Willow says, “I don’t wanna be the one to find the bodies anymore.” “Doomed” [4×11] comes to mind.
+ Riley calling Graham makes sense. It’s cool to see a helicopter on this show. We don’t get to see stuff like that very often.
+ I love the book that’s titled “Meteors and You.”
+ Riley hanging up on Willow and getting really back ‘into’ the whole military club.
+ Spike showing up stealing pictures of Buffy only to be hilariously attacked by the demon.
+ We find out Glory’s minions work for Ben, that he has a connection to Glory, and that he’s cleaning up “her mess” again. It’s good he’s actually part of the plot, although I’m not sure what killing the crazy people really accomplishes.


* In this maddened state, Joyce once again sees Dawn’s Key-like nature and this really starts to scare Dawn. She’s not a complete idiot and is connecting the crazy-people dots. She asks, “what’s wrong with me?” Dawn really is a great metaphor for an adopted child, and it’s fantastic to see the writers acknowledge and take advantage of this opportunity. All of this is really leading to and hinting at what will happen in “Blood Ties” [5×13].




41 thoughts on “Buffy 5×09: Listening to Fear”

  1. [Note: as always… posted this comment on September 3, 2006.]

    …great review. nothing to add, all the significant plot points added.

    imo in the beginning of s.5 there’s not enough Spike (except fool for love), just a random thought…


  2. [Note: Carey posted this comment on September 3, 2006.]

    Awesome review! Yeah, this episode was pretty creepy for me, so I like how they slipped in a bit of humor with Spike. =]


  3. [Note: Dingdong posted this comment on September 4, 2006.]

    I’ve always held that LtF is a lot better than everyone makes it out to be, and I really liked the madness story.

    I also liked the first real hint of how Ben was involved in things. It steps the arc up just enough in the background.

    The Space Demon was sometimes bad, but no more than Buffy’s normal MOTWs are, so it didn’t particularly bother me. It’s definately not any worse than the snake in the previous episode.

    The most commmon criticism from people seems to be “It has a monster from outer space. Unforgivable”! I really don’t get why it’s such a big deal for people, it’s not even intergral to the plot. Get over it.


  4. [Note: Jerry posted this comment on September 4, 2006.]

    Mike, I think something you missed about LTF is the idea that Willow still depends on Buffy, and gains some of her self worth from her. When the gang is out discovering what the asteroid left behing, Willow wants desperately to get Buffy, but she also knows that she cant. For Willow, Buffy is still her security blanket, she is still the person that brought Willow out of the shell she created for herself, and in that sense, Willow is very much the follower at this point. Whats even more important is that LTF also highlights the other person that provides Willow with a security blanket in Tara. Its in an interesting character study for Willow here.

    Also, yeah the crying scene is simply heartbreaking, and its appropriate that it happens with nobody around because it highlights the pressure that Buffy feels as the “strong one”, the lonliness of being the slayer, and her martrydom complex all in a single scene. Nobody can you see me cry, id rather not be weak and die…


  5. [Note: Ryan-RB posted this comment on September 4, 2006.]

    I’ve never understood the hatred for this episode, myself. I don’t know if i would’ve given it an 80, but a 70 or 75 at least. It’s exceptionally creepy and despite the ‘space’ aspect, not badly conceived at all.

    In fact, had the script devoted more time to it, it could’ve been a very interesting idea.


  6. [Note: Rick posted this comment on February 25, 2007.]

    It scored a 78 on my rating system, even though I tried to rate it lower (which tells me its not that bad). I know this will sound unusual, but I think the scene between Buffy and Joyce in the hospital is one of the saddest and one of my favourite scenes in the entire series. I have never loved either one of these two characters more than this…great job Kirshner.


  7. [Note: jess posted this comment on March 6, 2007.]

    “It’s good he’s actually part of the plot, although I’m not sure what killing the crazy people really accomplishes.”

    — The mental ward was already overflowing at the hospital and I’m sure it would be detrimental to Sunnydale and Buffy’s slaying to have a bunch of crazy people wandering around. He summoned the demon to prevent this.


  8. [Note: Ali posted this comment on April 29, 2007.]

    This is such a sad episode and it’s so sad cause we know what’s gonna happen. The scene where buffy is cring is so sad especially with the happy music playing in the background, it really shows how completely scared alone and sad she is.
    I also find the scene between her and her mom totally touching and moving. It is so heartbreaking to see her crying all by herself, and having to be the strong one (once again) for her mom and dawn, i think that this season is by far the most hard and traumatic for her charcter (yes more then seosen 6 ), i felt like her charcter became a punch bag for the writers.Sad so sad and it’s only the begining


  9. [Note: Latoya posted this comment on May 1, 2007.]

    Its funny. I had recently watched this episode and realized how much I loved it.

    Buffy taking care of her mother and Dawn, Buffy sobbing as she washes dishes, Willow selfishly wanting Buffy to solve the Alien/Demon problem even though Buffy has so much familial stres on her right now, just Buffy in general having to be “the strong one” that protects and nurtures and fixes all the problems when she is only 19 and is so scared.

    Episodes like this are the reasons why Buffy is my favorite character.

    I love that Spike snuck into her house to steal pictures of her. Some of which we see in Crush. And that she took his hand when she got up off the ground after killing the Alien Demon.


  10. [Note: Nix posted this comment on July 10, 2007.]

    The high-speed symptom manifestation is actually not that unrealistic. The brain is amazingly resilient and can hide the symptoms of a growing tumour for ages, and then *wham* it abruptly fails and heaps of strange symptoms come out of nowhere.

    (It is odd that it happens so soon after the headaches start, though.)


  11. [Note: Austin posted this comment on August 29, 2007.]

    I’d like to make a comment about something no one has mentioned yet and that is about how Riley’s vamphore thing is affecting him. As is customary with this series, I think this is a pretty obvious metaphor for a drug addiction and the effect it has on you and your friends, if I’m not mistaken, he misses patrol to get a fix and as a result, the scoobies find themselves in real danger. it’s also interesting to note how quickly it begins to affect him. He just started last week and already he is abandoning commitments and hurting his friends.

    Also I’m glad that Joyce has Buffy promise to take care of Dawn, because even though she makes it through the operation, I have no doubt that Buffy is thinking about her promise in the Gift. I would even go as far as to say that if she hadn’t made this promise (everyone knows how strong death-bed promises are) that she might have even considered Giles’ PoV about sacrificing Dawn for the greater good. Not that she would have likely done it, but it would have no doubt have been considered an option.


  12. [Note: tilly posted this comment on September 16, 2007.]

    i love the “cheery” music that buufy puts on the radio and heard it on another tv clip the other day, no one knows what it is do they?


  13. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on November 22, 2007.]

    I had no idea this episode was so hated. It has no reason to be, it´s a pretty good episode.
    I also wanted to cry with Buffy, because we know what is gonna happen later on.


  14. [Note: Richie posted this comment on January 3, 2009.]

    I’m with the other posters on this one – I really can’t understand anyone hating this ep. Although I agree with MikeJer’s comments on the pacing and MoTW (although the scene towards the end in Buffy’s house more than makes up for this in my book) I would probably have given it an 85. Despite it’s flaws, the acting is so brilliant I feel it deserves a bit more.

    Another often hated character – Dawn – pulls out a great performance as well, totally believable. I’ve always though that Michelle T is great in S5, but goes rapidly down hill from then on.


  15. [Note: Emily posted this comment on May 27, 2009.]

    Richie, I have to disagree with you about Michelle T. The only part that she did really well in this episode was the screaming for Buffy. Other than that, it felt like it usually does- very forced and trying too hard. Especially the part where she says, “You promise?” I cringe every time I see that.


  16. [Note: Selene posted this comment on July 11, 2009.]

    More foreshadowing: While in one of her Rack-induced states, Willow imagines herself out among the stars, like she’s a part of them.


  17. [Note: Lucy posted this comment on September 8, 2009.]

    I quite like this episode, but it always bugs me that Riley gets the commandoes to go into Buffy’s house, but it never gets commented upon. It happens right at the end of the episode, so you only see Buffy and Spike’s confused faces, but you’d think that Buffy would get angry that Riley’s involved army/government guys in her job. She was pretty against it when he suggested getting them involved in the whole Glory thing.


  18. [Note: Katie J posted this comment on October 12, 2009.]

    Not one of my favorites. I often skip over it when watching season five, but this review encouraged me to sit down and watch. I realized that the ratio of plot/character development to funny dialogue is too high. This is not surprising after S4, not to mention the hefty amount of plot that needed covering in S5: Glory with assorted mythologies, new sister, mom dying, Riley relationship fading fading. It’s a lot, and there is not much room left for frivolous fun.


  19. [Note: Alan posted this comment on January 6, 2010.]

    I’m watching the series through for the first time, so I try to avoid spoilers, so, telling me exactly how and when Joyce is going to die was a bummer.

    Otherwise, I couldn’t help think when seeing Riley with the vamp it really looked at the start like she was giving him a BJ. The Queller demon was very lame. It “hitched a ride” on Buffy’s car to their house? Sure.


  20. [Note: vix posted this comment on June 4, 2010.]

    I just wanted to second Austin’s comment about Buffy’s Promise to Joyce. I think it has a profound affect on her actions in The Gift.

    I read alot of sites and stuff about Buffy And I feel like its one of the small details that nobody ever mentions or I at least I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere


  21. [Note: Seán posted this comment on October 5, 2010.]

    @ Alan,

    I’m also watching the series for the first time but it does say at the top of every review on this site that the review may contain spoilers from ANYWHERE in the show!

    I have to disagree with people saying Michelle T is a bad actress. I hear that Dawn becomes pretty much unbearable in S6 but right now I think the writers have just made Dawn too petty and immature and sadly poor Michelle Tratchtenberg has been given the title of most annoying regular Buffy character.

    I think Michelle, Sarah and Kristine all played a blinder on the acting front in this episode!


  22. [Note: teo posted this comment on November 1, 2010.]

    you forgot to say how fierce and brave was Dawn defending her mother against the demon thing. that was great!


  23. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on November 18, 2010.]

    teo: Dawn was brave in doing what she did, I agree.


    * Xander talking about the cars/planets of Mercury and Saturn.

    * Meteors and You.

    * Buffy shocked at her mother saying the buttons at cross-walks are not connected to anything.

    * The alien was pretty freaky.

    * The nice ending.


    * How did no one see the alien on the ceiling at the hospital. How did the alien hitch a ride with Buffy. How did the alien get inside the Summers’ home.

    * How could Spike stay in the basement the entire time Buffy cried, Joyce was attacked and Buffy was attacked. He would have helped long before he was found.


  24. [Note: Wveth posted this comment on March 16, 2011.]

    I really love Joyce. I think she is a fantastic character played by a fantastic actor, and it just -kills- me to watch her losing her mind like that… I’m glad it’s confined to this episode, pretty much, but it just breaks my bloody heart. So hard.


  25. [Note: deadlego posted this comment on May 10, 2011.]

    In this episode i think the hospital scenes are great and very moving. My mum has severe mental health problems that started when i was 16 and it was terrifying. I had to look after my two younger brothers or they would have been taken into care. Having experienced how frightening it is to first see your mother behaving so strangely and saying things that were complete fantasy, I believed it in this episode. I could totally relate to what both buffy and dawn were feeling and their reactions and found the acting of everyone surrounding that (buffy, joyce, dawn and willow) very realistic and moving.

    Unfortunately I hated the whole demon from outer-space plot very bad. I thought the demon looked very fake and the coincidences of it following joyce, and willow and tare just happening to be star watching that night, and the idea that ben would summon a killer demon to kill patients considering how much he seems to care about his patients, and Riley turning up just when he did, and spike just happening to be in the basement, all very very unlikely. We have to suspend our disbelief often with the plots in BtVS (not the fantasy elements which are mostly beliveable from an ‘in world’ perspective, more often how the coincidental plots serve the characters) but this is a step to far.

    Unfortunately this thoroughly spoils the episode for me and is one of my least favourite BtVS episode. Subjectively i hate this one and would like to give it an ‘F’ if it was based on how enjoyable (or not!) i found it, but objectively on mike’s scale i rate it at a ‘C+’.


  26. [Note: Christiane posted this comment on May 12, 2011.]

    My favorite scene is Joyce talking to the demon and the girls trying to ignore her and fearing that their Mom is losing her mind while she is in real danger. That’s sooo great done by all of them.


  27. [Note: Susan posted this comment on July 8, 2011.]

    I re-watched this last night and then re-read your excellent review. I agree with nearly everything you said, but I believe that the “semi-lame demon from space” was really quite effective in the story. Despite the lack of much explanation of where it came from I really do feel that once the action moved to the Summers’s house the creepy factor really escalated. Seeing Joyce from the creature’s vantage point was very effective in heightening the suspense along with the camera shots of Dawn in the next room trying to block out her mother’s crazy talk totally unaware of the very real demon that she’s talking to. I was also impressed with the background music throughout the episode and felt that it conveyed a sense of eeriness and foreboding to the story. The only thing that I really didn’t like was the music playing while Buffy was washing dishes. I get that she was probably trying to cover up the sound of her sobbing but I can’t believe that she would have kept that music on. In my opinion, it was totally out of character for her. Other than that , I found this episode to be one of the few that kept me on the edge of my seat because of being scary and I believe I would have rated this a bit higher than you did.


  28. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 10, 2011.]

    When i watched this episode i spent some time contemplating the idea of show rather than tell. Joss is famous for visualising metaphors in Buffy-verse and this episode is no exception. The Queller demon serves to make palpable Joyce’s brian tumour and the escalating situation surrounding Buffy and the other characters as the season comes to its final fight scenes and plot climax. This episode, as you said Mike deals with illness and this episode is a scary, not for the whimsical evil snot monster from outer space but seeing Joyce encroaching on the line of madness. The prominent perception i took from this episode are the emotions and feelings that would be soaring through Buffy, the principle that Buffy has all these powers, the ability to heal quickly but she can’t do anything to save her mom resonates sympathy from us, perhaps the most we have ever shared with her; we don’t all kill her vampire boyfriends or die and come back but many of us have witnessed a loved one loose to an illness and there isn’t anything we can do to alleviate their pain and all of us are far too aware of a human beings vulnerability.

    This episode acts as a volley to speed some subplots along, Riley’s slow isolation and final scenes are escalated here in his failing to turn up for a patrol. Spike taking photos of Buffy from her basement will lead to the Buffybot. Also seeing the scenes with Joyce rambling nonsense and her touching moment with Buffy begging her to take care of Dawn if she wasn’t to make it through the surgery leads us to believe Joyce may not make it though and looking retrospectively we know she doesn’t.

    There are some less turbulent scenes in this episode, the humour with WIllow being shaky after dusting two vampires, Giles and Xander’s exchange about an evil snot monster from outer space was my favourite scene!

    The bottom line is that although this episode was a little slow in places nothing about it felt contrived. The only flaw was possibly the notion of the Queller, but seeing it in those final scenes in Buffy’s house were certainly creepy. A well written episode. One i never skip over.


  29. [Note: Louisa posted this comment on October 27, 2012.]

    I love this episode. I love that Joyce goes a little nuts with the brain tumor and the medication and figures out that Dawn isn’t her child. She urges Buffy to care for Dawn as she cares for Buffy, which promotes the idea of Dawn more as Buffy’s adopted daughter than as her sister. I love that Willow wants to stop being the one who finds the bodies, which also recalls “The Real Me,” even though she was just the one to trip over the dead Magic Box owner. It makes sense that Riley turns to his old crew as part of his growing separation from Buffy, the guys who make him feel relevant again (even though they show up too late to stop the demon). Riley is actively working with his old friends instead of resisting them. Spike and Buffy also work together, which further irritates Riley’s sense of alienation. The quellar demon was summoned by Ben, who is cleaning up the crazy people mess that Glory is creating right and left. And Dawn as “the Key” is developed further as being recognizable to those who aren’t in their right minds, preparing the way for Tara’s encounter with Glory and everyone figuring out who Dawn is. It all fits. This episode is exactly what the story line needs at exactly the right time, and I think it’s very well done. Don’t know why anyone would complain.


  30. [Note: Hubert posted this comment on September 8, 2013.]

    I think that this episode deserves a lot of applause for being willing to show how horrible disease can be. The long, horrible scenes of Joyce suffering and out of her mind are about as realistic a portrayal of illness as I’ve seen on television. Sure, the queller wasn’t the best thing ever, and the scenes in the hospital where nobody can see it are kind of stupid, but the rest of the episode is superb and gets an A from me.


  31. [Note: FaithFanatic posted this comment on January 18, 2014.]

    I agree than many underrate this episode – there’s nothing particularly wrong with it and it has a couple of nice scenes. I would probably give it a 70-75.


  32. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on February 1, 2014.]

    In hindsight, it’s pretty clear why Ben summoned the snot monster– no crazy people, no people to build Glory’s tower for the big day, right?

    It’s also possible that he’s just putting them out of their misery, like when the Knight mercy kills Dante.


  33. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on July 15, 2014.]

    I don’t get why people find the snot-monster SUCH a travesty. First of all, if someone’s looking for marvellous and spooky special effects, they should know that Buffy is not the show for that. Secondly, the snot-monster serves it purpose, is it hokey? Hell to the yes, but not any more or less than the usual demon of the week. I don’t let minor things such as these take away from the other stellar material at work here.

    Evil space demon aside, I love how authentic and real this entire episode feels. You’d think that an episode with a supernatural premises wouldn’t be this good at portraying real-world problems such as an illness but it does it exceptionally well. The actress who plays Joyce has done a great job at portraying a mentally challenged Joyce. Lots of heartbreaking bits. Dawn trying to shut her mom’s ramblings out with a pillow was so sad. SMG crying is something hard for everyone to watch, I assume. Buffy blasting the radio and crying while doing the dishes just gets to me every time. You just know, that despite all the people surrounding her, she’s destined to bare all that pain alone. She is the Slayer, and thus she has to put up a front and put on a stoic face, but inside, there’s so much emotional turbulence. Come to think of it, a lot of the scenes were really heartbreaking and a little difficult to watch, but I’m glad Buffy got the satisfying good-bye, thinking about the abrupt death that’s only a few episodes away.

    Riley has no excuse this time. I was slightly upset that his Military buddies barged into the house and it was never brought up again. I get that Buffy was frantic, but she wasn’t blind. If anything, you’d think Spike would tattle on him and let Buffy know. Oh, well. Minor setback.

    The humour wasn’t much, but whatever was there, was gold. I love the conversation between Giles and Xander, Willow and Tara are adorable and Spike is fun as always; his scream when the demon jumps on him? Priceless. I will complain again about the lack of Spike in this episode, nevertheless, loved how they tag-teamed with the slaying and then when he offers his hand, that she takes it. Notice they hold on to each other’s hands and only let go when Riley walks in. Am I reading in too much? Sorry, my guilty shipper must be showing. Anyway, this episode has it’s flaws, but I don’t think that detracts from the major stuff. I agree with your score.


  34. [Note: Nix posted this comment on September 11, 2014.]

    Susan, I think Buffy was just looking for anything at all, any vaguely happy human sound to try to block out the sound of her mother and the horror of what was happening. That the music was, objectively, crap and not the sort of thing she liked would not be at all important to her in this dark emotional place.


  35. [Note: Val posted this comment on November 5, 2014.]

    About the music, Dawn listens to the same kind of thing in the S7 episode where she’s home alone for the First poltergeist, ghost of Joyce thing. So maybe it’s a Summers girls tradition…cheesy salsa music.

    Everything with Joyce losing it is so well done. Excellent writing and acting and very true to life for anyone who has been through something similar.

    I gotta say though, I think it was pretty awful of Ben to summon a slug monkey space demon to clean up the crazies. That’s not really in the Hippocratic Oath, methinks. Between this and him being willing to kill Dawn and being a conduit for evil, I wasn’t that broken up about Giles killing him.


  36. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on July 10, 2015.]

    Glad that Mike mentioned the lack of logic in Ben’s plan. I mean it didn’t really occur to me just how stupid this was until I read it on the Glorificus page on Buffy Wiki (probably cause of the reveal of Ben and I wasn’t sure where he fit in the scheme. I mean just dumb. I mean does Joss think the health care system in the US is that messed up. Granted I’m Canadian but I don’t think intentionally killing people is part of the plan no matter what Xander said in The Body. In fact this bit of information just affirms how single sided some of his views are. At least in Veronica Mars’ Neptune the people were corrupt for understandable reasons but on Buffy people are evil, stupid or incompetent..just cause. I mean there’s begin a pessimist and just begin unrealistic. Granted it’s just this one guy doing this and Joss didn’t fully write this episode but I can’t escape the feeling that this was meant to be a slap against the system. The only thing I figure is that he wanted to cut down on Glory’s minions but surely he could kill some of those elf guys who are aware of what their doing. I’m also not sure if this episode has the best grasp on mental health if Joyce so quickly slips into the unstable realm. It all seems a little too convenient.


  37. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on July 10, 2015.]

    Also as additional point the title kinda sucks. I suppose the Fear begin listened too is the fear that something could go wrong but is that really the episode’s main focus?


  38. [Note: Tempus Fugit posted this comment on April 22, 2016.]

    Something that strikes me now, almost a decade after Mike’s review and more since this episode was made: Has anyone considered the rooftop scene as foreshadowing Tara’s temporary insanity? I might be stressing this a lot but she is giving names to the stars just as (insane) Drusilla did in Innocence, S2E14 (“I’m naming all the stars.”) Personally, I like to think that this was made intentionally.


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