In honor of the show, here are four of my favorite episodes:
Season 4’s ‘The Body‘:
This is the episode where Buffy comes home and finds her mother dead. The entire cast was working on all cylinders for this episode. Joyce’s death was treated respectfully and the diverse range of reactions of the characters on the show was extremely believable. My hat goes off to Emma Caulfied’s ‘Anya’. Caulfield’s character, who at the time was still somewhat new to humanity, was almost childlike in her [lack of] understanding of death. Despite the fact that she doled out death to many during her days as a vengeance demon, Anya never experienced death from the perspective of a [relatively] powerless human being who had become attached to another human being. To her, she couldn’t process it, couldn’t accept it, and really had no way of comprehending it. She offered the perspective a young child might have about the death of someone they love. And the way the other characters became exasperated at her was also believable. Such a damn good episode.
Season 2’s ‘Becoming pt. 2‘:
The stakes had rarely been higher on the show. Here was Buffy’s final battle against her ex-beau and first love, Angel, who’d lost his soul due to a moment of happiness he shared with Buffy and was now the vicious, sadistic demon Angelus. Buffy struggled for many episodes to deal with her boyfriend having become a horrible, shitty person, which was a pretty good metaphor for someone choosing to have sex with someone, only to discover they don’t give a shit about you afterwards, and in fact, go on to make your life a living hell. The twist at the end-Buffy has to kill a re-ensouled Angel to save the world from getting swallowed up by the demon Acathla and sent to hell-was so tragic. As I said upthread, the music was just so touching and apropos. Even now, having seen that episode who knows how many times, once I hear that music, the goosebumps overtake me, I get a few chills, and my eyes play a game of “let’s start tearing up”.
Season 6’s ‘Once More, With Feeling‘
I’m usually not a fan of musicals. It’s a whole thing with my brain and music. When I listen to music on the radio or online or on a cd, I don’t usually process what’s being said fully. I kinda go with the flow and a song will grab me or it won’t. I have to consciously make an effort to listen to what’s being said, and drown out distractions (such as the instruments or any other noise). But doing so takes some effort-enough that I cannot really enjoy the song. This becomes even bigger a problem when I watch a movie or tv show told in a musical format, bc in addition to having to concentrate on the lyrics to know what is being conveyed, I’m also paying attention to the actors. It’s a lot to take in and I’ve never been successful at it. In fact, it’s too much of a hassle, so I tend to stay away from musicals (movies with subtitles are also problematic for me for the same reasons). But this episode was a little different. Like most of Season 6, when I first viewed it, I wasn’t thoroughly impressed. I originally thought it was too dark, and that the musical episode was silly. But as I watched it over and over again, and bought the cd (yes, there’s a ‘Once More With Feeling’ soundtrack), I found myself really liking the episode, bc while on the surface, a musical episode might seem out of place on such a show, the unorthodox nature of this episode allowed the creators to explore a genre they hadn’t before, allowed the actors to express their acting in ways they hadn’t before (and allowed them to explore their singing talents or lack thereof), and still pushed the themes of the season forward. I couldn’t say which song is my favorite (just like I can’t rank my favorite B:TvS shows), but one of them is
Season 4’s ‘Hush‘
“Can’t even shout.
Can’t even cry.
The Gentlemen are coming by.
Looking in windows,
knocking on doors…
They need to take seven
and they might take yours…
Can’t call to mom.
Can’t say a word.
You’re gonna die screaming
but you won’t be heard.
The Gentlemen were Creepy. As. Fuck. To be honest, they were some of best/scariest monsters the show ever had, IMO.
Feel free to share your favorite episodes in the comments!
Also, if you’re interested in the further adventures of Buffy and the Scooby Gang, Dark Horse Comics has been publishing Joss Whedon-approved, in-canon additional seasons. They’re currently on Season 10, and just got approved for Season 11 (which will start later this year). Check your local comic shop if you want physical copies, or Comixology (it’s a great app), if you want to read it online.