I’ve been starting to think about Buffy the Vampire Slayer recently. Buffy was written a long time before Twilight. So the vampires actually killed people and there was certainly none of this ‘romance between vampires and humans’ nonsense. Hmmmm ok well I guess there was that whole Buffy loving Angel thing which featured in most of the story-lines, but generally speaking vampires were there for one reason only, to feed and then eventually get staked and turn into dust. There certainly weren’t any werewolves… Oh, well not many.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer religiously. The characters were brilliantly written, the plots were engaging, and the script was funny. Even now I find myself diving back in to watch all seven series once more.
“But what are your favourite episodes?” I hear you all cry. Well thank you for asking, here they are. My seven favourite episodes of Buffy…
7. The Zeppo (Season 3)
‘While the rest of the Scoobies fight a demon trying to break through the library, Xander has his own adventure.’
This episode is named after the fourth Marx Brother Zeppo, often thought of as being the least important of all the Marx brothers and surplus to requirement. Xander is asked to stay away from a particularly dangerous fight for his own good, a conversation that is overheard by Cordelia. She ridicules him for being a loser and not needed. The rest of the episode is seen through Xander’s eyes. The main plot becomes nothing more than a subplot. In Zander’s story he gets involved with a gang of criminal zombies, he loses his virginity to Faith the Slayer and saves Sunnydale Highschool from being blown up.
A nice episode that shows just how talented Xander can be. He’s maybe not as strong as Buffy or as clever as Willow or Giles, but despite his lack of obvious talents he is anything but useless or surplus to requirements.
Xander ‘s confident almost smug expression as he walks away at the end of the episode.
6. Help (Series 6)
‘Buffy meets Cassie, a girl who’s knows that she is soon going to die.’
An episode that could have so easily had the tagline ‘Crap Happens”. Poor Buffy spends the entire episode doing everything she can to make sure Cassie stays alive, she investigates her abusive father, she breaks up the cult trying to sacrifice Cassie to a demon for wealth, she even catches a crossbow bolt heading straight for her that was accidentally set off from a booby trap. Then mere minutes from the end of the episode Cassie just drops down dead from a congenital heart defect. This is definitely not a feel-good episode, but it is very well written and like ‘The Body’ this is another episode which shows that Buffy can’t save everyone.
Cassie’s accepting but very sad speech
Cassie: “You think I want this? You think I don’t care? Believe me, I want to… be here, do things. I wanna graduate from high school, and I wanna go to the stupid Winter Formal. I have this friend, and… it would be fun to go with him. Just to dance and hear lame music. To wear a silly dress and… laugh and stuff. (She sniffles.) I’d like to go. There’s a lot of stuff I’d like to do. I’d love to ice skate, at Rockefeller Center. And I’d love to see my cousins grow up and see how they turn out ’cause they’re really mean and I think they’re gonna be fat. I’d love to backpack across the country, or… I don’t know… fall in love. But I won’t. I just never will.”
5. Restless (Series 4)
‘The Scooby Gang all fall asleep during a video and are visited by the first slayer in their dreams’
This is an episode that you can look at as mostly a string of meaningless gibberish thrown together in a fantastically creative way, or you can dissect it and interpret like there’s no tomorrow. You can take each character’s dream and look at all the imagery and things said that both link to earlier series and look towards future episodes. It’s a giant bag of imagery soup with reference crutons. Yum Yum. You can find a great long list of references here
Giles’ dream song where he explains what’s happening.
Giles (singing): “It’s strange, it’s not like anything we’ve faced before / It seems familiar somehow / Of course / The spell we cast with Buffy must have released some primal evil that’s come back seeking / I’m not sure what / Willow, look through the chronicles for some reference to a warrior beast / I’ve got to warn Buffy / There’s every chance she might be next / And Xander / help Willow / And try not to bleed on my couch / I’ve just had it steam-cleaned. No wait…”
Read more: http://www.buffyguide.com/episodes/restless/restlessquotes.shtml#ixzz1wl6ywkqX
4. Normal Again (Series 6)
‘After being attacked by a demon, Buffy keeps switching between her real life and a different life where she is in a mental asylum and her slayer life is nothing but a delusion.’
This one makes it into my top seven because it smashes straight through the Buffyverse and outside the other side. Buffy is given the idea that her entire life is just something that she made up. If she forsakes the slayer life,and accepts that she is ill she can get better in the asylum and start to have a normal life. She becomes tempted by the delusion by the family that she lost; her mother is still alive and together with Buffy’s dad. As the episode progresses she starts to doubt herself and becomes more and more unsure of which is reality, even to the point of kidnapping and tying up all her friends, as a method of breaking down the unreality.
In the last scene of the episode Buffy chooses to stay in the ‘delusion’ of being the Slayer. There’s some contention on which world is the delusion. To me I think that the Slayer world is the delusion. I argue that if the asylum version of events is a delusion then as soon as she decided to stay as the slayer and drops into her catatonic state, the world would no longer exist. However, after Buffy is permanently catatonic we as the audience, hear the doctor say ‘She’s gone’, so it must stand that the Buffyverse is the delusion. If you get me? Well, I get me.
3. Once more with Feeling (Series 6)
‘A demon visits Sunnydale making everyone sing their innermost feelings to fatal consequences’
Another episode that shows just how versatile Joss Whedon is. The episode is set out like a traditional old school musical. It features plenty of song and dance numbers, and even a new set of credits and theme-tune to go with the show. Among the songs Buffy sings about how emotionless she feels to a bunch of vampires and demons in ‘Going Through the Motions’, Spike serenades Buffy with a rock ballad in “Rest in Peace’ and there’s a good old-fashioned love song between Willow and Tara, among others. What more could you possibly want? The series writer and producer Marti Noxon singing her lament over a parking ticket? Done.
Xander and Anya’s wedding worry song ‘I’ll never tell’ and Xander’s best efforts at singing and dancing. It’s important that he tried. Oh and Giles and Tara’s duet, you can tell they’re trained singers.
2. Tabula Rasa (Series 6)
‘Willow casts a spell on the group, to make them forget a previous argument. The spell works but an accident makes the Scooby gang forget everything,’
This sits firmly at number two, purely because it is one hell of a funny episode. As the amnesic Scooby Gang struggle to find out who they are, they’re forced to make assumptions on who they are based on gut-feel and clues. Spike thinks that he is Giles’ son called Randy based on a name in his jacket, and Giles’ obvious disappointment towards him. Buffy believing her name is Joan, realised after bickering with Dawn that they must be sisters. Giles and Anya believe that they are married because they own the shop together.
Spike: “Oh, listen to Mary Poppins. He’s got his crust all stiff and upper with that nancy-boy accent. You Englishmen are always so… Bloody hell! Sodding, blimey, shagging, knickers, bollocks, oh God! I’m English!
Giles: Welcome to the nancy tribe.”
…and the best Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode ever is…
1.) Hush (Series 4)
‘The entire population of Sunnydale is struck into silence, while demons called ‘The Gentleman’ literally steal the hearts of the population.’
I know I’m not alone with this one. This episode was nominated for an Emmy for both ‘Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series’ and ‘Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Series’. Why is it my favourite episode? Is it because it features some of the creepiest villains in the buffyverse, The Gentlemen? Is it because the episode is without any spoken words? Is it Giles’ violent and gory childlike drawings used to explain the situation, or Xanders’ miscommunication on how you kill them? It’s all of it. This is the episode I can watch time and time again, it’s brilliantly written with the usual humour and snappy writing you’d expect.
Buffy’s mime for staking a vampire being mistaken by the rest of the group as something altogether different.
To check out my favorite Angel episodes, click here.