Happy Friday TV fans! I was somewhat uninspired by the shows that aired last night so I decided to return to an old favorite, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Over the years, Buffy still holds up for me as one of my top shows of all time. Buffy first aired when I was in high school and in desperate need of a female lead to look up to that was strong, resilient, smart, and selfless. Plus Sarah Michelle Gellar’s wardrobe as Buffy helped my fashion sense tremendously.
Watching Buffy helped shape me into the person I am today and while I have not re-watched the show in several years, the episodes are still fresh in my mind. I have to say that out of all my top 5 rankings, this was the most difficult show to narrow down my selections.
I adore making lists so when I was brainstorming last night about which episodes I wanted to include, I found myself scratching off some and adding others repeatedly. There were some that I really wanted to include but I thought it was only fair to pick 5. I think that goes to show that there are so many amazing episodes of Buffy. Good job Joss Whedon!
My five top episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for are:
“Hush” (season 4, episode 10).
I have to admit that I still have nightmares about “The Gentlemen” from this episode. They are so well crafted and creepy, that even Freddy and Jason cannot compare. “The Gentlemen” travel to Sunnydale to collect hearts and steal the voices of everyone so that no one can hear you scream. I was in college when this episode first came out and I remember being very hesitant to open my dorm-room door after a knock because of this.
Sure that is a little extreme, but that’s how truly scary these demons were. What really makes this episode stand out is that Buffy and the Scoobies have to find a way to defeat them and communicate with one another without their voices. This leads to some great comedy along the way balanced with sheer terror.
“Fool for Love” (season 5, episode 7).
In this episode, Buffy comes very close to dying and is looking for a way to learn from her mistakes and stay alive. She decides to go to the vampire, Spike, for help. She knows that over his lifetime, he has killed two slayers and she wants to know how. For me, Spike has always been one of my favorite characters.
The development of his back-story was so interesting and necessary to the show. What really grabs the viewer is when he tells Buffy that “he’s always been bad,” only to flash back to a scene where he is dressed in a dusty suit, reciting poetry. Who would have thought that one of the most dangerous vampires of all time had a romantic side? We find out through the episode that he was nicknamed “William the Bloody” because of his “bloody awful poetry.”
While it is interesting to see how Spike is turned into a vampire and how he defeated the other two slayers, what really stands out is his love for Cecily. He had been crafting his poetry for her and pouring his heart out, only for her to reject him and say that he is “beneath her.” This moment is what drags Spike’s vulnerability to the surface and comes back to haunt him when Buffy later says the same thing to him.
For me, the end of this episode always stands the test of time. Spike goes off to kill Buffy for making a fool of him and he sees her crying on her porch steps after she has learned that her mother is very ill. He goes to sit with her and comfort her in what I think is the purest and most beautiful moment between them.
At this moment, Spike doesn’t have a soul. Sure, he has a chip in his brain preventing him from hurting others, but he is able to show true compassion and friendship here, which is really beautiful.
“The Gift” (season 5, episode 22).
This is a very powerful season finale and I often thought that the series would end here. It wasn’t until the UPN network picked up Buffy for seasons 6 and 7 that it continued on. A lot goes on in this episode and a catastrophic portal opens that can only be closed by the blood of the key, Buffy’s sister Dawn.
Buffy makes the ultimate sacrifice, choosing to jump into the portal to sacrifice herself to save her sister and the world. A flash-back reveals Buffy reminding Dawn that their blood is the same, which brought tears to my eyes. Buffy tells Dawn that “the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.”
As if this moment couldn’t have been tragic enough, Spike’s reaction to Buffy’s death is so heart-wrenching and real. He does truly care for her and feels he let her down.
“The Zeppo” (season 3, episode 13).
You may be wondering why I included this episode and why it is ranked so high on my list. “The Zeppo” is the funniest episode of the entire series, following a series of events through Xander’s perspective.
In the beginning of the episode, Cordelia talks about how everyone in the Scoobies has something to contribute except for him. He’s like “Jimmy Olsen” or “The Zeppo.” Xander gets into a never-ending adventure where Buffy and the rest of the gang are simply background noise.
Xander’s reaction to each new challenge is hilarious and the music is spot on, which makes this episode stand out for me as one of my all-time favorites.
Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one episode of Buffy are:
- “School Hard”
- “I Only Have Eyes For You”
- “Lovers Walk”
- “The Wish”
- “The Prom”
- “Living Conditions”
- “Something Blue”
- “Who Are You?”
- “Buffy vs. Dracula”
- “The Body”
- “Life Serial”
- “Once More, With Feeling”
- “Tabula Rasa”
- “Conversations with Dead People”
- “Lies My Parents Told Me”
“Becoming Part 2” (season 2, episode 22).
This has always been my absolute favorite episode of the series. While the episode has a lot going on, the last moments are what make it so powerful. Angel has lost his soul and became the evil Angelus and Buffy is fully prepared to put a stop to him, recognizing that the man she fell in love with no longer exists within this soulless demon. Angelus is opening the mouth of a demon that will swallow the world hold, unleashing hell upon earth.
Just as Buffy is about to strike him down with a sword and save the day, Willow’s spell takes effect, and his soul has now been returned. Angel doesn’t remember what has happened or where he is. The damage is done; however, as the demon’s mouth has already been opened and Buffy must destroy the love of her life to close the portal. Buffy reveals her selflessness again to save the world, losing her true love in the process.
Once the tragic task is completed, Buffy leaves Sunnydale, unable to deal with the tragic consequences.
I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to comment on some of your own favorite episodes. Happy viewing and have a wonderful weekend!
Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl