Buffy: My Favorite Episodes

If we lived in Joss Whedon’s world, you might call me List Guy.  I love lists.  Don’t know why.

Joss Whedon is one of my heroes, and though I mourn the end of his run on Astonishing X-Men, I’m excited that he has a new show coming soon.   Welcome to the Dollhouse, starring Eliza Dushku (who I’ve been in love with since Bye Bye Love), will once again provide my Whedon fix.   In light of that, I was thinking about Joss’ first show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.   I was a HUGE fan of the first few seasons of the show.   And I currently read the “Season 8” comic.   For a long time, Buffy was the best thing on television.  So I made a list of my favorite shows from it’s 7 year run.

10. Graduation Day, Season 3

There’s nothing altogether special about this episode, besides the moment when Buffy tells the Watcher’s Council that she quits.   It is note-worthy that this episode is in fact Buffy’s true moment of Graduation into the world of adulthood, if not her actually becoming an adult.   It also features  the final confrontation between Buffy and her former friend, the rogue vampire slayer, Faith (Eliza Dushku).  In a way this episode kind of sucks because it marks Dushku’s exit from the show.  But it’s a fun episode featuring the entire student population of Sunnydale High vs a giant Snake.   Fuck Sam Jackson.

9.  The Wish, Season 3

The concept of a dark alternate reality isn’t anything new in the world of Science Fiction, but it’s always fun. In the Buffy version, Cordelia accidentally makes a deal with a demon to make it so that the Slayer never came to Sunnydale.  Nightmare realities ensue.  Buffy is a hardened warrior in Cleveland.  Angel is held captive by The Master.  Giles and Oz are vampire hunters fighting a losing battle.  And Willow and Xander are sadistic vamps.  When she realizes what happened, it’s up to Cordelia to set things right… except she gets killed.

8. Becoming pt 2, Season 2

There’s so much good here.  What really makes it one of my favorites is the final moments.  Angel’s soul has been taken from him and he’s summoned a demon who will destroy the world unless Buffy kills Angel. Buffy battles him for the sake of the planet.  Willow manages to restore Angel’s soul at the last second.  And just as Buffy is about to send Angel to hell, she realizes that his soul is back.  He looks into her eyes with love, and she kills him anyway, having no choice.  She is left broken and alone, and leaves Sunnydale.  Destroying his favorite character is what Whedon does best, and this was classic Joss. The whole thing is heart-wrenching.

7. Hush, Season 4

The famous silent episode.  Demons steal the voices of the entire town so that no one can cry for help while they kill.  The vast majority of the episode is completely silent except for the soundtrack.  The effect is haunting, and for the first time Buffy felt like a true horror show.

6. Primeval, Season 4

Season 4 was about the Scoobies post high school.  The course of the season sent all of them in different directions and drove a… stake between them.   The penultimate episode of Season 4 brought them back together in a meaningful way, and showed that they were stronger together than apart.  The season finale was a more interesting episode, but I went with this one because it’s so reflective of what happens to friends after college.  It’s real.

5. The Zeppo, Season 3

Three words: Xander gets laid.  And by mega-hot slayer, Faith, no less.  My favorite character has always been Xander, simply because he’s the me of the Whedon-verse.   He constantly gets dumped on and never seems to fit in.   He finally got a girlfriend, and lost her because he was an idiot.   This ep shows how useless he is, and then proceeds to disprove it as he manages to save the town.  All of which is wrapped up in one of the best jokes the show ever had, as the Scoobies face down the Hellmouth demon… without ever showing it to us.

4. The Body, Season 5

Buffy finds her dead mother in this episode, and is forced to deal with life without her, not to mention the concept of caring for her younger sister.   What will really stick with you about this episode are the moments where Buffy and Dawn are left alone with their Mother’s body.   It’ll leave you with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, and burning desire to hug your Mother.

3. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Season 2

It’s hard to top this episode.   Many of my favorites are Xander-centric shows, and this is the best of them.  Xander is in love with Cordelia, but she dumps him because her friends think he’s a loser.  So he casts a love spell on her, which backfires and makes everyone BUT Cordelia fall madly in love with him.   In some ways you would imagine that to be every man’s fantasy.   You’d be wrong.  The women go mad with “love” and try to kill Xander and Cordelia both.  It’s worth the price of admission just for the scene when Buffy tries, in the most sultry, seductive way I can imagine, to fuck Xander.   But I think what I love about this is that in the end, the underdog finally gets the girl.

2. Once More With Feeling, Season 6

It seems Joss loves musicals as much as I do.   So he wrote an entire episode as a musical.  The result is awesome.  The music was so good I bought the soundtrack.  And it also includes some of the most important moments of the entire season.  This was the lone bright spot in the otherwise depressing sixth season.

1.  Chosen, Season 7

I remember most of the series finale, but what really sticks out for me is the moment where the four original Scoobies stand in the middle of Sunnydale High preparing for battle.  Joss wrote this brilliant scene where the four converse in their patented Scooby-speak, going out as they came in, as the best of friends.  It was the perfect end to was of the best shows in TV history.

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10 responses to this post.

  1. I should have guessed he’d be your favorite too:) -A lot of these are my favorites also, LOVE 8, it totally made me cry, I’m not even gonna lie. -And I loved the part in the Graduation one when they gave her that little umbrella. It was corny maybe, but… It was touching.

    Reply

  2. Well, one slight caveat–

    The episode you’re thinking of is the Prom episode. It was the one just before the two-part Graduation Day. I thought it was kinda touching as well. I’m pretty sure Jonathan gave it to her.

    I was going to include that one, but my list limit was ten, so I had to cut some out. This one beat it out for pure fun.

    Reply

  3. Damnit! Yer right!! -There was a later episode where… I can’t remember what kind of monster or catastrophe caused it, but all her shit got busted up, including that- I don’t remember if she even said anything about it, or if I just saw it in the background, but it gave me a pang in the heart.

    Reply

  4. I dunno. The only other time I saw the “Class Protector” umbrella was in the Season 4 premiere. Some Vamps stole Buffy’s shit, and she had to get it back. And she walked off with it at the end.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Ad Astra on June 9, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Ummm, how do you make this list and NOT include the episode with the Buff-bot? 😀

    I LOOOOOVE Xander too. I wish they hadn’t made him whiny by the end.

    ps – You get cooler with each passing day. My mother is a huge Buffy fan, and so then am I. We own all the season disc sets 😀

    Reply

  6. Eh, it was a good ep from what I remember, but the fact that it doesn’t stick out in my brain means it wasn’t my favorite.

    p.s. Nah, I’m a big geek

    Reply

  7. Posted by Becky on June 10, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Another great list. I think the musical episode is one of the only episdoes of the entire series I have never seen. It is also the one that EVERYONE ranks in their top 5! I really need to rent that season and catch up!

    Reply

  8. Becky~

    Skip the season and get the show off of iTunes. The rest of the season was incredibly depressing. But it was a fantastic episode. In fact, it just barely got beat out by the finale for the number one spot.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Ad Astra on June 10, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Geeks ARE cool. Duh

    Reply

  10. Posted by samuraipoet on August 9, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Buffy is unique in television. I gotta agree… one of the best TV shows of all time.

    Reply

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