Buffy has an encounter with a demon...
....which, unbeknownst to her, infects her with 'aspect of the demon', which turns out to be telepathy.
That's why the demons don't have mouths, Giles opines. Weird. Don't they need to eat?
Anyway, much wackiness ensues, firstly while Buffy frets about what aspect of the demon she's been infected with.
Willow doesn't help by suggesting it could have been a boy demon.
Also by, along with Xander and Oz, being very distracted by the pep rally (that's the right term, isn't it?) for the school football team.
Never mind, though.
Angel - with whom Buffy is still somewhat on the outs, due to the Faith-kissing incident - assures Buffy he'd still love her even if she was covered in slime.
He doesn't have to prove it, though, since Buffy is only infected with telepathy.
Mind you, it may feel to Buffy that slime is involved when she finds herself listening in to various teenage boys' trains of thought. Mostly in the gutter.
Xander (who, throughout the second half of the episode, is wearing the most horrible shirt imaginable. Seriously, it looks like pizza), turns out to be no different, despite his best efforts to prevent Buffy realising he thinks about sex (including sex with her) a lot.
Other secrets also come out.
Mr Beach, one of the teachers, wishes all the students would disappear.
Nancy, a very competitive girl who we never see again, is vastly irritated by Buffy outdoing her in class (though Buffy was cheating and reading the teacher's thoughts).
Freddy Munson, editor of the school newspaper (who we also never see again), is a cynic who thinks school activities - especially cheerleading - are pointless.
Cordelia thinks exactly what she says (which we already knew).
Joyce had sex with Giles on the hood of a police car, twice, (and no, Buffy doesn't seem impressed by the whole 'we were teenagers' excuse),
and someone wants to kill all the students.
Also, rather conveniently,
telepathy doesn't work on vampires. Angel does, however, assure Buffy that she's the only thing he's ever loved in 243 years. Aww!
More wackiness then ensues while Buffy is temporarily incapacitated due to excess telepathy,
and Wesley, Giles and Angel search for a cure,
as the gang interrogate various suspects, which include,
Mr Beach (not guilty),
Jonathan, because he was in the school cafeteria when Buffy overheard the murderous thoughts (ultimately not guilty except of stupidity in planning to commit suicide with a hunting rifle. What's wrong with a handgun?),
these three girls (not even suspects),
Nancy (not guilty),
Larry (also not guilty, and apparently only a suspect because he's gay and therefore can be presumed to be tortured and full of resentment which makes him want to kill people, cue hilarious misunderstandings when Larry assumes Xander's line of questioning is based on Xander's own closetedness),
and Freddy (despite suspicious behaviour, also not guilty except of writing bad reviews - and given the clunky old office equipment he's stuck with, who can blame him?).
In the end, the would-be murderer turns out to be,
the lunch lady, who - perhaps not surprisingly, is sick to death of cooking and serving food to ungrateful school children. I do think she might have tried a less fatal method of expressing her disgust, though.
So does Buffy.
And all the detective-ing and wearing of stupid hats by Willow...
...isn't wasted, as because of it, Buffy finds Jonathan in time and stops him killing himself.
Have to say, I'm not entirely convinced by Buffy's 'everyone is lonely and miserable, no matter how pretty/popular they are' argument. But she does have a point. And even if she didn't, Jonathan blowing his own brains out (if he'd succeeded, which strikes me as dubious given his choice of weapon) wouldn't have solved anything.
This episode was pulled from the schedules when it first aired, because of the Columbine High School massacre. I can quite see why. It would have seemed way too on the nose, and a couple of lines - notably Oz's comment about people getting gunned down at American high schools being 'bordering on trendy' would have seemed in very bad taste. They sorta kinda still do seem in very bad taste, but not talking about it, of course, is not going to make it stop.
Good to see you've emerged from
your psychic adventure more or less
intact. Feel up to some training?
Sure. We can work out after school.
You know, if you're not too busy
HAVING SEX WITH MY MOTHER!
Sadly, there's no screencap of Giles walking into the tree.