It’s Throw-Back Sunday TV Fans! For today, I have once again returned to one of my old favorites, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There’s something to be said about moments in television that can bring you to tears. You invest a lot of time into the shows you watch and connect with the characters on a profound level, which is what makes it so impossibly emotional when certain moments happen, shattering the calm and happy existence you have come to know and rely on.
Whether it is one of your favorite characters dying, an epic romance coming to end, or something else entirely, there are certain heart-breaking moments on television that still impact us today. After many re-watches of Buffy, there are still certain moments that I recognize. I find my heart starting to skip faster, anticipating the worst, even hoping that somehow the outcome might be different with a re-watch.
However, the tragedy replays as it did the first time watching, still bringing tears to our eyes and tugging at our own feelings in the process. Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch the full series yet.
My top 5 heart-breaking moments from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are:
Giles’s discovery of Jenny’s death.
In season 2, Angel loses his soul when he experiences true happiness with Buffy. When he returns to his former monstrous self, Angelus, he stalks and torments Buffy and her friends. It is not enough to simply kill them. He wants them to truly suffer, weakening them further in the process. Fans loved the blossoming romance between Giles and Jenny Calendar.
When Angelus learns that Jenny is on the verge of finding out how to bring the curse back along with his soul, he views her as a threat in the episode, “Passion.” He hunts her down in the school and snaps her neck, which was horrific enough for viewers. However, Angelus doesn’t stop here. Rather, he stages a romantic evening for Giles to walk into. Giles approaches his doorway with a rose waiting for him and happily walks into opera music playing along with champagne and a note reading, “Upstairs.”
To Giles’s horror, he finds Jenny’s lifeless body waiting in his bed, dropping the champagne bottle and shattering it, while the opera music crescendos louder and louder. What makes this moment truly tragic is Giles’s reaction to it. Giles and Jenny were finally going to be reunited and make things work, but Angelus viciously ripped this happiness away from him, toying with his emotions.
In season 6, Warren is not about to let Buffy and the gang make a fool of him. A once harmless villain has now become deadly. He points a gun at Buffy and Xander to the surprise and horror of fans and shoots it. Xander falls to the ground and it first appears that he is his victim, but the bullet ricochets to the upstairs window and strikes Tara right in front of Willow.
Tara’s blouse has a single blood stain on it, as she falls and collapses in Willow’s arms. Willow’s eyes turn black in rage, now releasing the dark magic and power that she had kept away for so long. The love between Willow and Tara was so pure and beautiful and fans were horrified to see Willow’s love taken away from her in a violent act. The Scoobies have faced evil day after day, but what makes this so awful is that it was a mortal act of violence.
It wasn’t a vampire or a monster, rather it was a human being who felt wronged by the world and took his anger out with a man-made weapon, revealing that mortals can be just as dangerous as monsters in this world.
Buffy sacrifices herself to save Dawn.
In the season 5 finale, “The Gift,” Buffy recognizes that her blood is just like Dawn’s. Dawn’s blood is the key to closing the portal that will destroy the world, but she is not about to let her innocent sister suffer the consequences. Buffy makes the decision to jump into the portal to sacrifice herself.
She tells Dawn that “you have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world — is to live in it. Be brave. Live…for me.”
This is one of the most powerful and heart-breaking quotes in the entire series for me. Buffy’s unconditional love for her sister, her friends, and the world is beyond words. She has touched the lives of so many people and helped saved innocents with each action, but there is something about this act that transcends all of that.
She recognizes the sacrifice and embraces it, leaving her friends mourning her behind. Spike is left in tears, making this moment that much more tragic for fans, as he does truly love her and feels like he let her down.
Buffy kills Angel when his soul returns.
In the season 2 finale, “Becoming,” Buffy knows what she must do and is now truly ready to defeat Angelus so that she can save the world. She recognizes that the good man she came to know and love is gone, leaving only a shell of a monster behind. Seems easy enough, right?
Before Buffy is about to strike the final blow, Willow’s spell works and Angel’s soul returns. Angel doesn’t remember what has happened and Buffy tells him to close his eyes and kiss her, right before she strikes him fatally with a sword, sending his body through the portal. Buffy is still relatively new and young as a slayer in season 2, dealing with high school drama and this is more than any teenage girl could handle.
She leaves Sunnydale behind, unable to deal with her emotions and the loss of her great love by her own hand.
Buffy finds her mother’s body.
In season 5, Buffy is dealing with a new sister and a god named Glory who will stop at nothing to find her key and destroy the world. What makes this moment truly tragic is that it is a mortal tragedy. Buffy’s mother, Joyce, has been sick for a while, but when Buffy discovers her body lying on the floor, she becomes an innocent and terrified young girl. Buffy whispers “Mommy,” as we empathize with her completely.
Her powers will not help her here. She is left to attempt CPR and call an ambulance, but it is too late. Her mother is gone and she has to deal with this loss along with realizing that she will now have to pick up the pieces of her family and grow up even faster than she already has.
This episode did not feature any background music so that viewers were able to completely focus on Buffy’s reaction and emotions throughout this heart-breaking scene, which is still incredibly difficult for me to watch.
I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to share some of your own heart-breaking moments from Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the comments section. Thank you so much for reading and happy viewing!
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Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl
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