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18 June 2014
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Episode Guide
Listening to Fear


Buffy meets X-Files anybody? Makes you wonder what other demonic stuff is happening on the moon. Perhaps the Slayer should team up with NASA to investigate?

Having the slimey little tyke crawl around the ceiling is a nice effect, although the awful "Lets not turn any of the lights on," contrivance to stop anybody spotting it at Buffy's house is a little cringe-worthy. Mind you, they never turn the lights on in the X-Files either so maybe it's an homage?

Nice to see the impossibly square-jawed (and headed) Graham return. They even had the budget for a big black helicopter too. Always impressive.

Hospital evils are pretty creepy. Perhaps it's the contrast between all of that hygienic white, and the malevolent nastiness preying on the sick. Der Kindestod was a great season two hospital baddie - the Quellers feel like a re-hashing of that. And crashing down in a meteor - maybe not the best evil ever.

However, Joyce's encroaching illness was very well handled - her sudden illogical outbursts were absolutely chilling. I'm also very impressed by the sound design in the recent episodes. That cheery latino music as Buffy cries over the washing up is a really disorienting counterpoint to the on-screen events.

The moral of this episode? The scary things in life aren't demons, devils and aliens. They're really bad things happening to people you love.

Buffy's ill mom starts to get more and more upsetting this week, as the pressure on Joyce's brain increases. The merging of this everyday problem with monster of the week is far more successful than last week. It's so moving when Buffy cries doing the washing-up while Joyce talks to the monster.

That said, the moon monster from space is an oddly annoying concept. It's all a bit X-Files, only with another duff costume (two slightly pants monsters in a row). The script and direction make up for any shortcomings in the concept, though it's really disturbing seeing the monster crawl across ceilings, and attacking a man strapped down to a bed.

And what the hell is Ben up to? We thought he was one of the good guys. With motives this dark, he's bound to end up as the love interest.

Buffy season five continues on its downbeat path, with another hospital-heavy, illness-focused episode very similar to last week’s Shadow. There’s even another unconvincing monster, the dwarf-crossed-with-woodlouse Queller demon, and more of Riley’s farcical bad boy antics.

This week he sits impassively as an ugly vamp chick orgasmically drains the claret from his arm, looking for all the world like a bored blood donor waiting for the biscuit and cup of tea afterwards.

Riley does exert himself later on, calling the useless Initiative in to investigate the Queller meteor. Cue an unfamiliar (to Buffy) burst of technobabble. "Shouldn’t be too much background gamma round here". You’ve got to feel sorry for the lug by this point. Even bursting into Buffy’s house with a troop of black berets doesn’t seem to get him her attention.

Where the episode shines is in the realistic portrayal of the strain and fear looking after someone with mental illness involves. The dreadful fraught atmosphere created by a loved one acting erratically and weird was chillingly evoked and you really felt for Buffy as she broke down over the washing up. Compared to seeing her mother like this, demons and vampires must seem like nothing.

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