Sparked by Buffy chatter & Hadeis' recent rewatch (which I definitely need to do myself!), I tried to come up with my own personal Top 10 Buffy episodes.
**SPOILER WARNING** for descriptions & comments!!! If you haven't watched, GET OUT. thx. :)
Honorable Mention: Lovers Walk (Season 3, Episode 8)
Oh, drunken Spike & your curiously on-point insights. His assessment of Buffy & Angel is one of my favorite speeches in the series:
"You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver. But you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood. Blood screamin' inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
(Btw, I typed that entire speech from memory - looked it up to verify & was 100% correct.)
10. Restless (Season 4, Episode 22)
I hated this one on first viewing. I thought it was stupid, WTF, and a total waste of an episode. But what I didn't know at the time was how JAM-PACKED with foreshadowing it was. Amidst all the initial "weirdness" were a million clues and callbacks to the series' past and future, and with subsequent viewings, I grew to love it.
9. When She Was Bad (Season 2, Episode 1)
I can't lie, I kinda love what a bitch Buffy was in this episode. And hey, girl has been through a lot. So she's acting out. So what? Her life is really stressful! As several of my fave eps reveal, I tend to like it when Buffy acts out of character, whether she is in the right or wrong in doing so. Like many heroes, Buffy tends to get a bit self-righteous & sanctimonious at times, and the exchange between her and my dearly departed, beloved Cordelia is just superb.
Cordelia: Buffy, you're really campaigning for Bitch of the Year, aren't you?
Buffy: As defending champion, you nervous?
Cordelia: I can hold my own. You know, we've never really been close, which is nice, 'cause I don't really like you that much, but... you have on occasion saved the world and stuff, so I'm gonna do you a favor.
Buffy: And this great favor is...
Cordelia: I'm gonna give you some advice. Get over it.
Buffy: Excuse me?
Cordelia: Whatever is causing the Joan Collins 'tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it. 'Cause pretty soon you're not even gonna have the loser friends you've got now.
8. Something Blue (Season 4, Episode 9)
This episode (another in which Buffy is not truly herself) is just plain hilarious. The birth of Spuffy, blind Giles... so many quotes. "Stop. Whatever you're doing. You smell like... Fruit Roll-Ups."
7. The Body (Season 5, Episode 16)
Obviously one of the best of the entire series run, this episode only ranks lower simply because it's incredibly difficult to watch. It's heartbreaking and honestly very real. I distinctly noticed even on first viewing the lack of music in the episode, which made it feel less like a dramatic television show and more like a window into the lives of your best friends as they experience a tragedy. Anya's speech kills me.
6. I Only Have Eyes for You (Season 2, Episode 19)
This ep is so brilliant - and here again an ep in which Buffy is not herself (curious). Watching Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz embody the ghosts of two old lovers, with the twist of Buffy as the male and Angelus as the female, right in the middle of their own relationship fallout (what with them recently shifting from lovers to, quite literally, mortal enemies), gave me goosebumps. "Don't walk away from me, bitch!" gets me every time.
5. Hush (Season 4, Episode 10)
I'm sure this is ranked higher for many people, and its creepy perfection has been lauded by every fan and critic under the sun, for obvious reasons. If you've seen the show, you know what makes it great. The Gentlemen were deliciously spine-tingling as they floated through Sunnydale, and I really did love watching our Scoobies communicate without their voices. Huge bonus points for the scene of Giles' overhead projector presentation, which, in addition to bringing some much-needed levity amidst all the creepy, features some of my fave little character moments, such as Giles' vivid drawings and Buffy's mistakenly interpreted handjob/slayer motion. And let's not forget Anya's finger motion to Xander in another scene, as well as the introduction of Tara.
4. Becoming, Part 2 (Season 2, Episode 22)
Everything the season built toward finally culminates in one of the greatest fights in the series - ending with one of the first big GOTCHA!s Joss Whedon pulls on fans, as, at the last minute, Angelus becomes Angel again, but Buffy must kill him anyway. *cue Sarah McLachlan*
3. Once More, with Feeling (Season 6, Episode 7)
Perfect, flawless, hilarious, heartbreaking, all TV musicals wish they were this amazing, etc. Bonus: lots of sexy singing Giles.
2. Fool for Love (Season 5, Episode 7)
I love Spike. Or at least, I definitely did up through Season 5. Hatersgonnahate, etc, but this episode was like crack to an addict for me: Spike's history with Slayers (and the wonderful flashbacks), his complex relationship with Buffy, fantastic dialogue (with plenty of foreshadowing), and an unexpected ending all make it a classic.
1. Passion (Season 2, Episode 17)
Tension has been building all season, but this is the episode where the danger and emotions become very clear and very real: everyone's tangible fear of Angelus, Giles' blossoming love of Jenny, and the "ecstasy of grief" over Jenny's unfathomably cruel murder. When the opera crescendos and Giles drops the bottle of champagne in shock, when Buffy and Willow react to the news of her death (especially Willow & her sobs)... I am honestly getting goosebumps just typing about it. Angelus' poetic voiceover througout the episode gives it an entirely different feel (not sure what that says about me as a fan that such a different type of episode is my favorite of all time), and could not be more true. The heartbreak and emotion are absolute perfection. In closing, Angel's speech:
"Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping, waiting, and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir, open its jaws, and howl. It speaks to us, guides us. Passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments: the joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion we'd be truly dead."
Agree? Disagree? What are yours? DISCUSS!