The Darth Vader hot air balloon. Want it.
Now I’m gonna have the Imperial March stuck in my head all day.
I’ve read enough of other people’s Top 10 Buffy eps. I want to do my own 🙂 This won’t interest anyone I know IRL so feel free to skippity skip this post. But if you’re a fan of the Vampire Slayer, then maybe you can argue with me on my choices 🙂
These are in seasonal order, not order of my faves:
10. “Innocence” Season 2
I love me some Angelus. There’s just something alluring about the deliciously evil demon wreaking havoc in Sunnydale. His obsession with Buffy in this story arc is fascinating to compare to other incarnations of Angelus that we get to see throughout the series and on “Angel.” In “Innocence,” Buffy and Angel finally hook up – Buffy unaware that this act will ruin everything and Angel seemingly unaware himself of the consequences, and when Angel experiences that moment of “perfect happiness” (Read: orgasm – albeit an O with the woman he truly loves) his gypsy curse kicks in and he loses his soul, letting loose his inner demon and bringing forth Angelus, the Master Vampire who terrorized Europe back in the day. David Boreanaz brings on the snark as Angelus and while I do love this episode, I think my favourite Angelus he does is Season 4 on “Angel” when the gang raises Angelus to try and stop the Big Beastie.
9. “Becoming, Part 2” Season 2
The grand finale to the Angelus story arc in season 2. Angelus has plotted to awaken a demon that will destroy the world and of course buffy must stop him. The angst factor was really ratcheted up in the previous episodes which makes the payoff at the end really worth it. The video above shows the final fight sequence between a heartbroken slayer and her former lover. At the last moment, Willow is able to restore Angel’s soul but too late, and Buffy – knowing her true love has returned, must still kill him to save the world. *deep sigh*
When I first saw this episode, it slapped me in the face with the angst and as we all know, I love the angst. Sarah Michelle Gellar displayer her ability to wrench emotion from you when her big old eyes fill with tears and David, once again, pulls off a difficult feat of switching characters mid-scene. That happens a lot on Buffy and I really dig watching the actors do that.
8. “Lovers Walk” Season 3
The Magnificent Spike (James Marsters) returns to SunnyD after the love of his unlife, Drusilla, leaves him for a chaos demon. Spike is drunk, heartbroken, and feeling bitey. He wants Willow to do a love spell on Dru and bring her back to him, so he kidnaps her and Xander to force them to do it.
I love this ep because A. I love Spike and B. It’s just funny. It’s full of little moments and bits of dialogue that crack you up. (“I bought her beautiful dresses with beautiful little girls in them..”) I think this episode gave James a chance to portray more than just the Big Bad and we see that Spike is more than just a typical minion-like vamp.
7. “Doppelgangland” Season 3
This was Allyson Hannigan‘s episode to shine and she just rocked it. EvilVamp Willow is fantastic and I wish we could have had more of her. In a previous episode where Cordelia wished everyone into an alternate reality in which Xander and Willow are Vampires, this one brings EvilVamp Willow into the normal reality causing much confusion for all.
Willow is my favourite female character on the show and so whenever the show focuses on her, it’s a great time.
6. “Hush” Season 4
The beasties in this one (The Gentlemen) are truly creepy. They come to Sunnydale to steal the hearts of residents (literally) and they cast a spell that steals everyone’s voices so they can’t scream when they tear out their hearts. Buffy and the scoobies have to find a way to defeat them. With the help of Giles’ hilarious transparencies, they do in the end of course.
The show won an Emmy for this one which features almost no dialogue throughout. It’s a testament to the strengths of the show – it’s actors, directors, creators, and writers that they can pull something like this off and make it so weirdly wonderful.
5. “Fool For Love” Season 5
In this episode, we learn a great deal about Spike – his past and we get to see his battles with the two slayers he’s killed. Buffy is injured while on patrol and it scares her enough to want to research past slayers and find out why and how they died. But there’s very little info about that in the Watcher’s Records because when a Slayer dies, their watcher finds it too painful to record. So Buffy has to turn to Spike for answers. She grills him on how he did it and in turn, Spike teaches her a lesson about being a Slayer.
We travel back and forth between the present and Spike’s past and it’s surprising to learn that Spike was not quite such a badass before he was turned. In fact, he was a bit of a priggish young man named William who was in love with a woman who disdained him and he wrote bad poetry. Really bad poetry. When Drusilla turned him, he became influenced by Angelus and his ruthlessness and adopted the working class accent and swagger that we all know and love.
This was just a beautiful episode from the ground up. The way the stories about Spike’s past served to mirror the present as Spike grappled with his discovery that he is in love with Buffy and Buffy learning Spike’s theory about the deaths of slayers hit home with her (and pissed her off too.) The whole thing was just woven together so beautifully that I think this is probably my most favourite episode of them all.
4. “Tabula Rasa” Season 6,
This is an episode that is both hilarious and sort of sad. Willow casts a spell that goes awry and makes everyone forget who they are. The deductions they make regarding their identity (Spike is Giles’ son Randy, Willow and Xander are dating, Anya and Giles are married??) are most amusing and the shenanigans that ensue are enjoyable to watch. But when the spell is broken, everyone goes back to being as miserable as they were before – Buffy depressed about being yanked out of heaven, Spike dealing with his unrequited love, Tara realizing Willow’s using the magicks again and leaves her.. It ends on a such a down note.
Season 6 is meant to be the year when Life is really the Big Bad for everyone. An interesting concept for the show and I thought they handled it very well. Relationships begin and end badly, death is everywhere (not that it isn’t usually, but this time death hits close to home and leads to EvilWitch Willow) and the characters are dealing with real life scary – rape and murder as opposed to demon scary.
3. “Beneath You” Season 7
Spike’s living in the basement of Sunnydale High and he’s a little… off his head. He’s dealing with a shiny new soul that he fought to regain (after attempting to rape Buffy in Season 6, Spike went through the demon trials to regain his sould so she could have “what she deserved” – a good man who would never hurt her.) He didn’t count on the soul racking him with the same guilt Angel suffers. Couple that with the First Evil manipulating him in the basement and well, he’s a little crazy.
In this episode a woman is being terrorized by a giant worm that Anya created after she became a vengeance demon again. The scoobies try to help her but Spike turns up, seemingly sane for now and offers to help. The gang is reluctant but eventually they accept his help. It doesn’t take long for him to lose it though and by the end of the episode, James Marsters delivers the most powerful scene (in my opinion) of the series in which he confronts Buffy in a church and through his mad ramblings she learns he has a soul now. I’ve watched this scene over and over and it gets to me every time.
2. “Storyteller” Season 7
Andrew, a former member of the evil trio from season 6, now a peripheral scooby who’s not quite accepted by everyone is the subject of this terrific episode in which he tries to document everything the Slayer is doing and everyone involved in her life. Tom Lenk is magnificent in this episode – hilarious and touching all at the same time as we learn the reason he’s such a storyteller – it’s so he doesn’t have to “deal” with his past crimes (namely the murder of his best friend) and by the end of the episode, he’ll have you crying as Buffy forces him to confront himself over everything he’s done.
I really enjoy Tom Lenk’s character, Andrew. I think he got the best lines and this episode really showcased Lenk’s talent.
1. “Lies My Parents Told Me” Season 7
Spike’s been hypnotised by The First and is being manipulated into killing humans but the gang needs to figure out the ‘trigger’ that sets Spike off. Giles and Principal Wood team up behind Buffy’s back to deal with Spike. Giles feels Spike is simply too dangerous and Wood is dealing with a darker purpose: His mother was the second Slayer that Spike killed. So while Giles keeps Buffy busy patrolling, Wood brings Spike to his garage (filled with crosses) and sets off Spike’s trigger. They battle, and eventually the trigger is broken.
What I loved about this episode was again travelling into Spike’s past and finding out what he did to his mother (and what she did to him. Eeesh) namely, he tried to save her from death by Consumption and instead he unleashed a nasty demon who tried to have sex with him and he ends up having to stake his own mum. This is something Spike’s buried deep so as not to deal with it. Wood’s forcing him to confront it is what broke the trigger.
The fight between Wood and Spike was stupendous and very moving really, for both men. Wood actually had to confront the fact that he didn’t come first with his mother who was stuck with the Slayer mission – something he always denied.
So there you have my top 10 Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes 🙂 Of course there are many more episodes I love – including the fantabulous “Once More with Feeling” musical episode that usually makes everyone’s top 10 list. I do love that episode as well. The whole ‘Angel’s back from Hell and can he and Buffy reconcile’ arc of S3 was fun – Spike and Buffy’s twisted relationship, the scene when Tara gets shot, anytime Spike tries to hurt a human after he’s chipped, The Gift… There’s just so much to love.
I might do top 10 Angel eps next time. Why? Because I can.