When the gang are together in the library, Oz thinks to himself "I am my thoughts. If they exist in her, Buffy contains everything that is me, and she becomes me. I cease to exist". This is a nod to French philosopher René Descartes, who came up with the Latin phrase "Cogito, ergo sum" which translates to "I think, therefore I am". Descartes used it to prove his own existence, claiming his ability to form thoughts made him a real, living, human being. On her DVD commentary, writer Jane Espenson says that Joss Whedon suggested Oz's reaction by telling Jane to "write him something that sounds like something Friedrich Nietzsche would have said in the situation."
Although Jane Espenson was the author, in her DVD commentary she says that the scene in which Buffy repeats her teacher's very sophisticated theories on William Shakespeare's play "Othello" was written instead by show creator Joss Whedon.
This episode was about a student planning to kill himself on the school campus. It was filmed before the Columbine massacre, but it was scheduled to air a week after the shooting and was delayed until the next season. Due to the weapon he would have used, a sniper rifle, and being in a clock tower, many people are under the mis-impression that he was planning mass murder. This was also contributed to by the fact that Buffy did telepathically hear thoughts of somebody planning to kill all the students, but it wasn't a student.
When Willow is interrogating Jonathan she tells him, "We all have fantasies where we're powerful and respected, where people pay attention to us. But sometimes the fantasy isn't enough, is it Jonathan? Sometimes we have to make it so people don't ignore us, make them pay attention." This is a foreshadowing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Superstar (2000) in which Jonathan does an augmentation spell thus creating an alternate reality where he's famous and admired by everyone.