Friday, March 04, 2005

Best Buffy episodes

2010 UPDATE: This is the post on this blog that still garners anything resembling traffic, so I figured I'd note that I'm re-watching all of Buffy with my girlfriend, and might update this list accordingly once we've completed it. We'll see!

What time is it?


Work has been soooo slow this week, that I've had nothing but time to think about whatever, including, it seems, what my favorite Buffy episodes are. Would you like to hear them? Now I admit a few of these visit some pet themes of mine or whatever, so I can't really say that, academically, these are the BEST episodes of Buffy (although there certainly are some of those), but they are my FAVORITE.

And if you haven't watched Buffy well, what are you waiting for?

10. The Zeppo - Xander feels useless, and gets a new car to compensate. Then he gets pulled into a wacky adventure involving zombie teens, a bomb, and the loss of his virginity. Meanwhile, Buffy and co. ward off yet another apocalypse in the background. Basically Buffy's answer to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and about as funny. Watch out for that mailbox!

9. Lies My Parents Told Me - Flashbacks reveal Spike's rather twisted relationship with his mother, while in the present Principal Wood conspires with Giles to bump Spike off. Awesome final scene between Buffy and Giles. A high point in season 7.

8. The Wish - Yes, I am a sucker for alternate realities, thank you for asking. Cordelia wishes that Buffy never came to Sunnydale, and Anya makes it happen. Suffice to say, it's not pretty. Introduces hot evil Willow. Back when Marti Noxon was not a detrimental force on Buffy.

7. Who Are You - And yes, I am also a sucker for body switching. But this may be the best body switching episode of everything, ever. Faith has one of the most satisfying arcs of any Buffyverse character, and here she gets a taste for heroics after literally walking in Buffy's shoes. This episode is the light at the end of the tunnel of Faith's redemption.

6. Fool for Love - Spike's secret origin! See how William the bloody awful poet became Spike the two-time Slayer-killer.

5. Hush - The Gentlemen arrive in Sunnydale and steal everyone's voices, and Riley and Buffy each learn the other's secret. One of the few episodes of Buffy that's genuinely scary.

4. The Body - The fallout from Joyce's sudden and unexpected death. Just a study of how each major character reacts to the news. Totally devastating.

3. Once More, With Feeling - Possibly the most technically impressive episode, because man, musicals are hard. It certainly helps that a good deal of the original music is actually really good. Buffy inadvertently reveals that she was pulled out of heaven when her friends resurrected her. You know, Joss Whedon would make an awesome lyricist, although he should probably have some musical backup.

2. The Gift - Buffy dies (again). I think we can all agree that if the series had ended with this episode, it would have been a mistake. Buffy should live on, after all. But while "Chosen" (the series finale) is certainly better on a second viewing, this really feels like the last episode. The personal stakes for every character just seem so much higher than at the end of season 7. And Buffy telling the gang that she'll kill any of them who try to hurt Dawn? And Giles killing Ben? AWESOME. Yeah, I'm a sucker for big climactic finales, but this was a corker.

1. Becoming, Part 2 - On my first scribbling of this list, this came in somewhere in the middle. Then I realized that this episode has everything that makes Buffy great. Buffy must make an uneasy alliance (sucker for those, right here) with Spike in order to prevent Angelus from destroying the world. Think how much great stuff happens in this episode. Joyce finds out Buffy's the Slayer. Xander conceals Willow's efforts to re-ensoul Angel from Buffy. Buffy must kill Angel to save the world, even after he gets his soul back. Buffy leaves Sunnydale. It's the climax to the season that showed everyone how good Buffy could be.

Runners-up: "Restless," "Prophecy Girl," "Dopplegangland," "Earshot," "Dirty Girls," "Passion"


Anonymous Paul said...

We could talk about this all day, but I think the one epsiode that was left off both your Top 10 and runner up list is "Lie To Me".

That episode marks a very clear turning point in the serise where it changes from a teen-centric, monster-of-the-week, X-files riff, to a real character driven show with some real dramatic weight behind it. What's more Joss Whedon was aware of this when he wrote the script. The whole episdoe is a mission statement about where the season, and the rest of the serise will be going, as can bee seen in the episode's final scene:

Buffy: You know, it's just, like, nothing's simple. I'm always trying to work ot out. Who to hate, or love... who to trust... It's like the more I know, the more confused I get.

Giles: I believe that's called growing up.

Buffy: I'd like to stop, then. Okay?

Giles: I know the feeling.

Buffy: Does it ever get easy?

Giles: You mean life?

Buffy: Yeah. Does it get easy?

Giles: What do you want me to say?

Buffy: Lie to me.

Giles: Yes. It's terribly simple. The good-guys are stalwart and ture. The bad-guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns and black hats and always defeat them and save the day. Nobody ever dies. . . And everyone livs happily ever after.

Buffy: Liar.

I had greatly enjoyed Buffy up to this point, but this was the episode that made me sit up and realize that the show really had some chops and that I was watching the evolution of something great. I was not dissapointed.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

You are completely correct. I just forgot about that episode. Which is funny, considering it's the very first episode of Buffy I ever saw. It completely sold me on the series.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Also inexplicalby left off my "runners-up" list (especially considering that I wrote it down) would be "Innocence," where Angel first turns evil and Buffy fights the Judge. Season 2 is really where it's at.

11:23 AM  

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