Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Listening to Fear

Season 5, Ep 9, Aired 11/28/00
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  • Episode Description
  • A Queller demon lands in Sunnydale in a fiery meteorite and begins killing all the mentally ill people it can find. Meanwhile, Joyce has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and while she waits to undergo her operation the tumor is making her act increasingly unusual. Buffy must find and defeat the demon before it senses her mother’s madness and makes her its next victim.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Nicholas Brendon

    Alexander 'Xander' Harris

  • Alyson Hannigan

    Willow Rosenberg

  • Marc Blucas

    Riley Finn

  • Emma Caulfield


  • Michelle Trachtenberg

    Dawn Summers

  • Fan Reviews (13)
  • This is a decent, if flawed, episode about the horrors of illness.

    By tarafan2, Jul 05, 2013

  • Hard to watch Joyce so vulnerable

    By joxerlives, Jan 20, 2012

  • Listening to Fear

    By TrueTvWatcher, Oct 28, 2010

  • Season 5, Episode 9.

    By Wanted23, Jul 14, 2009

  • A good episode with a somewhat weird plot but a few great lines and the continuation of one of the main arcs makes it a worthwhile episode.

    By TwistedConverse, Nov 06, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (9)

    • Joyce: ...those eyes! Those eyes! They look like gasoline puddles!

    • Joyce: Dawn... she’s not mine, is she? Buffy: No. Joyce: She does belong to us, though. Buffy: Yes, she does. Joyce: And she’s important. To the world. Precious. As precious as you are to me... Then we have to take care of her. Buffy, promise me. If anything happens, if I don’t come through this... Buffy: Mom... Joyce: No, listen to me. No matter what she is, she still feels like my daughter. I have to know that you’ll take care of her, that you’ll keep her safe. That you’ll love her like I love you.

    • Willow: You know what's weird? Tara: Japanese commercials are weird.

    • Willow: Oh, I feel just like Santa Claus... except thinner, and younger, and female. And, well... Jewish.

    • Riley: Oh, that 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.

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    Notes (4)

    • Willows "I don't want to be the one who finds the bodies anymore" comment dates back to earlier this season's episode "Real Me" when she trips over the body of Mr. Bogedy, to season 1 "Prophecy Girl" where she found dead students and Season 4's episode "Doomed" when she found the dead guy in the bed.

    • The crazy guy at the hospital who said "There's no data there..." while looking at Dawn is the same guy that Glory fed on when she was trying to make the monk talk.

    • For some reason, Bailey Chase (Graham) is uncredited in this episode.

    • In all the supernatural beings that Buffy and co. have dealt with, the creature in this episode is the first one to have come from outer-space.

    Trivia (4)

    • In this episode we discover Ben has some sort of an involvement with Glory, though at this point no one is aware of what kind.

    • Nitpick: So the Scoobies are the only ones who noticed a meteor fall to Earth? One would think that it would quickly gain national attention.

    • Goof: When we see Joyce's reaction shot in the middle of Dawn's "jello speech", we also see Dawn on the left, and her lips are quite obviously not moving in time to what we hear her saying.

    • Goof: Willow makes a mistake about the date of the last meteoric anomaly. The Tunguska blast happened in 1908, not 1917.

    Allusions (4)

    • Xander: Festive piñata? Delicious candy? Piñatas are hollow cardboard or papier-mache figures usually filled with candy or toys. Piñatas are most often used at birthday parties where they are suspended by a rope, people are then blindfolded and try to break open the Piñata with a stick so that the contents spill out.

    • Xander: (about the planets) Look at how teeny Mercury is compared to, like, Saturn. Whereas in contrast, the cars of the same name...
      Mercury and Saturn are, obviously, planets. They're also American car companies. Saturn is a newer company which currently sells 3 series of vehicles — the L-Series (mid-size sedans/station wagons), the SC-Series (sporty coupes), and their most popular S-Series (compact sedans). Mercury is a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, which manufactures mid-to-full-size sedans and sport utility vehicles.

    • Willow: (looking at the stars) That's Canis Minor, and Cassiopeia.
      Canis Minor is "the lesser dog," one of Orion's hunting dogs. Cassiopeia is Andromeda's mother from the legend of Perseus. Both of these stars are most visible in North America between November and March.

    • Dawn: There's a girl at school told me that gelatin is made from ground-up cow's feet, and that if you eat Jell-O, there's some cow out there limping with no feet.
      Dawn isn't as far off as Buffy would have you think. Gelatin is a protein which is obtained from collagen, typically from cows' bones and skin. The bones and skin are immersed in acid, and the eventual solution is processed to make gelatin.
      Jell-O is a specific brand of gelatin dessert. In North America it's common to refer to all gelatins as Jell-O, kind of like Kleenex.

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