Season Five, Episode Nine
"Listening to Fear"
We start off with Dawn and Buffy joining Joyce for meal time at the hospital. This scene actually makes me laugh every time I see it because whenever my mom was at the hospital, she'd basically force my sister and I to eat her food. Most of it's disgusting but I'd generally share her meals with her to get her to stop asking.
Buffy informs Joyce of the fact that she's hers for the night since she's gotta the gang to cover for her. And Willow is on a roll tonight; she dusted two vamps! She's so adorable when she's proud of herself
Xander complains to Giles and Willow about Riley not showing up. Where is he, you may ask? Let's see.
Looks like he's getting bitten by vampires which is basically the exact opposite of what he was supposed to be doing. And this whole Riley-acting-out-with-vampire-whores thing is weird; is this basically the Hellmouth version of self-injury?
And now we rejoin the Summers at the hospital. And Willow brought some very important gifts!
What every hospital patient needs...a beer hat!
After the gift giving, Joyce has an outburst and screams ("I'd rip it in half and stick it in bed with me!") and next, as they leave the hospital room, they run into a mental patient who says weird things to Dawn ("There's no data. There's no pictures on this one. There's no one in there.") I'm going to hold off on my comments about this for another few scenes.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment I'm sure you've all been waiting for: Willow and Tara being adorable.
WILLOW: I used to love to look up at them when I was little. They're supposed to make you feel all insignificant but they made me feel like ... like I was in space. Part of the stars.There's Canis Minor. Cassiopia.
TARA: The Big Pineapple.
WILLOW: Um... you know... not sure I remember that one.
TARA: Oh, it's a major one. See those three bright stars right there?
TARA: And see those stars along there? That's the bottom of the pineapple.
WILLOW: It's big.
TARA: Hence the name. The real ones never made sense to me. I sorta have my own.
Tara makes me question whether she's more perfect than Willow; which is probably the highest compliment I could ever give. They are just too damn adorable. Now moving on.
Wait, are you telling me that the point of this scene wasn't just to show us how adorable they both are? Really?! Huh, apparently something major happened involving some alien spaceship thing coming down from the sky. I guess I didn't notice...
We go back to the hospital and listen to Joyce as she complains about the lack of nurses coming as she pushes her help button on the hospital bed remotes. She tells Buffy it's probably not even hooked up to anything, like crosswalk moniters. From this Buffy seems to question her entire existance as if crosswalk moniters are the most important things in the world and having them be a lie will change the course of her life. Or, you know, something less dramatic.
A doctor finally comes in (Note: This would NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPEN. The best you'll get is a nurse telling you that they'll try to get a doctor to come in within the next hour. [/rant]) Anyways, he actually agrees to let Joyce go home! More on how stupid this is later, for now I want to discuss the stupidness of not telling Dawn about things going on around her.
I have always believed that honesty is the best policy in almost every circumstance and what goes on with Dawn just pushes this philosophy further for me. Yes, she's young and yes we want to not overwhelm/scare her but she's going to find out eventually. Speaking as the youngest child in a family with a disabled parent, I can tell you for certain that not telling Dawn doesn't make the problem cease to exist. When I wasn't informed about things for my mom it might have been easier for a brief period of time but, once the truth came out, it hurt like hell. As you all know, we haven't had any current posts because of my mom passing away. From this, some things have come to light about different things she had spoken to my older sister about but had neglected to discuss with me because she didn't want to scare me. I obviously can't say for certain that I'd have wanted to hear these things but I can say that knowing now the things I missed out on knowing and hearing first hand from my mom hurt very much. I'm going to try and not get more personal but rewatching these scenes and seeing how things are handled with Dawn upset me. She's not entirely stupid and she knows something's wrong and, in my opinion, it would be better if they just told her about Joyce's tumor and her being a big bundle of energy. I'm sure also the latter discussion would be very amusing to overhear.
Buffy: So Dawn, I have something important to tell you. You know how you're my little sister and you've always been in my life. Yeah, that's not really the truth. You see, I've actually had four seasons of my own TV show as an only child and you just randomly came out of nowhere into my life. At first it felt as if you've always been there but then I talked to this dying monk guy and he said that him and a few of his monk friends created you and that, before they got to you, you were just a big bundle of energy. Just thought you should know, kthxbai.
The scoobies investigate the weirdo spaceship. They all make some suggestions as to what could have been contained inside the ship. And Anya makes fun of most of them.
"No, no, I'm sure it frisked about like a fluffy lamb" who else loves Anya?
They go off looking for the lamb and Willow finds a body. She tells the others about how the body belonged to a mental patient they let out of the hospital today. And for some reason this makes Riley wanna insert objects into his mouth.
RILEY: It might be toxic, don't touch it.
XANDER: Oh yeah, touching it was my first impulse. Luckily I've moved on to my second, which involves dry heaving and running like hell. (Favorite Line) Oh man, does that smell.
ANYA: What do we do now?
WILLOW: Well, we can't call Buffy. I want to call Buffy.
TARA: We can't. She's got... life stuff. That has to come first.
WILLOW: So we'll figure this out ourselves. We're experienced.
ANYA: Yes. It seems like we're always dealing with creatures from outer space except that we don't ever do that.
The scoobies all opt to do research and Riley stays behind because he likes to be a loner. They all leave him and ask him to call if he finds anything. As they walk away, Willow says "I don't want to be the one that finds the bodies anymore." Before I would have found this line funny, but after finding my mom I feel very sad over the fact that Willow, or any of them for that matter, have had to discover any dead bodies. It is definitely not something on my list of most fun things to do.
Next we go into the mental ward of the hospital with this one guy yelling. The scene changes to a hospital worker at her desk with no intention of going to check to see what's wrong with the screaming guy. Unfortunately, this is pretty consistent to real life. I was once in the hospital with my mom and the person next door to her was screaming for help. I ended up getting a nurse and asking them to check on her and they told me "oh, she just does that." A few minutes later, they came to my mom's room and said that if she was bothering us then we could close the door. It was really sad.
Oh, look, now Joyce is going home with Buffy. It's kind of weird that they let her go home, not gonna lie. It's also weird that Buffy wanted Joyce home. Whenever my mom was in the hospital it was sort of nice because we didn't have to watch over her. I'm going to just completely skip over the weirdness of Riley calling in the commandos for help and them coming to the rescue and move onto Joyce's behavior.
We see Buffy and Dawn watching tv down stairs away from Joyce. My first instinct is to say how stupid Buffy is but I have to remember that she isn't used to this life. Watching over someone who can't fully care for him/herself is difficult. With my mom, it was always a struggle because she couldn't do things but would refuse to accept to the fact that her daughters had to care for her instead of the other way around. And Joyce's behavior isn't far off from instances I've experienced. There were a few times when my mom would get up and walk out the door in the middle of the night and we'd have to run after her. Or times when she'd get up and decide to move heavy furniture two inches so that it was stupidly placed in the middle of the room (and she wouldn't let us move it back for a while.) So the fact that Buffy and Dawn walk in on Joyce using the stove in the kitchen isn't surprising and why I think the doctor was stupid to let her go home. You can say you want to help and do what's needed all you want but the fact is that it's a very difficult task and it takes a lot of learning and patience. The best way I can think to explain it is if you imagine getting a new puppy. Puppies are fun, but they're also work. As you spend more and more time with your puppy, you learn his/her different cues and what they mean. As opposed to humans, this takes more time and you have to try to learn it because they can't just talk and tell you what they need. For instance, my dog Noah is OCD and scratches his dog bowl when the food isn't covering the bottom of the bowl. He has two specific scratches so I can tell if he's being a weird dog or if he's actually out of food. The same goes with care-giving. My mom acted a certain way when she required certain medication; she started talking crazy when she needed to put her oxygen on. There are things doctors can't tell you and you just need to pick up as you go along.
Ha, well look at that, this post suddenly became all about my mom. I have a feeling this will happen from time to time. Especially since she obviously felt the need to pass away as we're watching Joyce go through treatment for her brain tumor. *Sigh* anyways, moving on past Buffy's incompetence.
Poor Dawn. Two crazy people in one day tell her that she's nothing. This is certainly not something a teenager needs to hear. And now poor Buffy; how the hell do you make Dawn feel better without telling her that everyone's right and she actually isn't real?
XANDER: I still don't get why we came here to get info about a killer snot monster.
GILES: Because it's a killer snot monster from outer space. I did not say that. (Second Favorite Line) What I said was, there are demons who approach our world in all sorts of different ways. This one came from above ...
XANDER: And the university library's astronomy section is the home of aboveness... got it.
From the scoobies research on the snot monster, they come to learn that he's known as the Queller and he needs to be summoned to calm the crazies. Willow calls to inform Riley but he already knows since there has been five murders at the Sunnydale psych ward.
Next we hear Joyce being crazy while Dawn listens in from the next room. Buffy's downstairs cleaning up the house and crying. Because she's having a sad, I will not comment on how horrid the music is that she's listening to.
Riley and the commandos are trying to track the Queller when one of them mentions how someone checked out today and took the Queller straight to their own home.
And then we see that Joyce has actually been talking to the Queller this whole time while he was staring at her from the ceiling (how creeper like.) Joyce screams and Dawn runs in to hit with a coat rack. She then yells for Buffy, but she can't hear her over the loud disgusting music. She yells a few more times and Buffy finally hears her. She goes off after the snot monster and runs into Spike who was "stealing from their basement" aka being a creeper and stealing pictures of Buffy. Many lulz would have taken place if the snot monster didn't interupt the hilarity. They save the day and Buffy runs up to hug her mom and Dawn and tell them how everything's all right.
Next we see Ben speaking with Glory's ugly disgusting demon men. From this discussion we get some very valuable information:
DREG: Forgive me. I just want to understand. Why summon the Queller?
BEN: Why do you think? Because I'm cleaning up Glory's mess. Just like I've done my whole damn life.
*Gasp* What could this meannnnnn?
And now, before we end for the day, one last touching moment:
JOYCE: No, I guess it isn't. I do know I was pretty out of it. And I had - not a dream exactly. More like, I had this knowledge. It just came to me - like truth, you know? Even though it didn't seem possible. Even though I shouldn't think such things.
BUFFY: What, Mom? It's okay.
JOYCE: That Dawn...(pained) She's not mine, is she?
JOYCE: She's - she does belong to us though.
BUFFY: Yes. She does.
JOYCE: And she's important. To the world. Precious ...
JOYCE: As precious as you are to me? Then we have to take care of her. Promise me, Buffy - if anything happens to me, if I don't come through this-
BUFFY: (cutting her off) Mom-
JOYCE: No. Let me finish. No matter what she is, she still feels like my daughter, and I have to know you'll keep her safe. You'll love her like I love you.
BUFFY: I promise.
JOYCE: Good. Good...My sweet, brave Buffy. What would I do without you?
You may all start crying over how sweet this moment is. Until next time!