Is it just me, or has Joss Whedon been a lot more active lately? I’ll admit that I haven’t really been paying attention to him, but I haven’t noticed a lot of Whedon projects in the past few years. Now, suddenly, he has two movies (The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods) coming out this spring that I would be super excited to see even if Whedon’s name wasn’t attached to them. I am thrilled for this Whedonaissance, whether or not it is occurring solely in my mind, and so in honor of dear Joss, I’ve compiled a list of the twenty-five best episodes of what is, to me, clearly his masterpiece: Buffy, Slayer of the Vampyres.
Pictures are from Screencap Paradise.
The 25 Best Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episodes: #25-21
25. “The Weight of the World” (05×21)
Willow: “Ben and Glory are the same person?
Xander: “Glory can turn into Ben and Ben turns back into Glory.”
Anya: “And anyone who sees it instantly forgets.”
Giles: “Now, do we suspect that there may be some kind of connection between Ben and Glory?”
For nearly five full seasons, Buffy shouldered the burden of averting Apocalypse after Apocalypse all by herself. Okay, the Scoobies were there too to look up names of demons and act as bate and stuff, but come on. Buffy did all the heavy lifting. Having that insane workload would send any other person “howling to the nut house,” as Dean Winchester would say. “The Weight of the World” shows Buffy finally having a well-earned mental breakdown. In order to save her from her catatonic state, Willow magics herself into Buffy’s brain and travels through some of the most important memories she finds there, providing us a glimpse into Buffy’s wonderful, tortured, heartbreaking brain. Oh, Buff.
24. “Something Blue” (04×09)
“So the plan is to cure my total incapacitating blindness tomorrow, is it?” – Giles
Willow does a spell to to “have her will done,” (spell-language is just the worst, isn’t it?) that doesn’t take into account the prevalence of figurative speech. Because of this, Giles ends up blind, Xander ends up hunted by every demon in a five-mile radius, and, most importantly, Spike and Buffy end up ickily, gushingly in love with each other and start planning a wedding. The plot is an eentsy bit flimsy and this is the beginnings of Willow becoming the most selfish character in the world, but it’s such a fun, hilarious episode that I forgive it, and so should you.
23. “Fear Itself” (04×04)
Giles: “The summoning spell for Gachnar can be shut down in one of two ways. Destroying the Mark of Gachnar…
[Buffy destroys the Mark of Gachnar]
Giles: “..is not one of them, and will in fact immediately bring forth the fear demon itself.”
When will college kids learn that idly painting pentagrams on their floors is dangerous? Damn kids. The gang heads to a a Halloween party and, wouldn’t you know it, all their deepest fears end up coming true. Thankfully, none of these characters are too messed up, and all of them have fears like being invisible and turning into a werewolf, so this episode is fun to watch rather than deeply upsetting. This one goes down in Buffy history as the episode that originated Anya’s famous rabbit phobia. It also goes down in the Buffy history of my heart as the episode where Giles wears a sombrero and wields a chainsaw.
22. “A New Man” (04×12)
Buffy: “Please don’t die!”
Giles: “Actually, I feel quite well, except for the rage.”
I’m a sucker for a good Ethan Rayne episode! He never raises the stakes too high; instead of wanting to end the world or enslave humanity, he just wants to stir up a little trouble. I won’t lie, I also love to see the longing in his eyes when he looks at Giles. I’m right there with you, Rayney. Giles is a gorgeous hunk of man. This episode, about a depressed and defeated Giles getting transformed into a demon, has it all: Spike and Giles teaming up out of necessity, stupid Maggie Walsh getting a well-deserved demon-chasing, and, of course, proof that Buffy knows Giles better than anyone has ever known anyone.
21. “The Harsh Light of Day” (04×03)
Xander: “So… the crux of this plan is…”
Anya: “Sexual intercourse. I’ve said it, like, a dozen times.”
Xander: “Uh-huh. Just working through a little hysterical deafness here.”
Anya: “I think it’s the secret to getting you out of my mind. Putting you behind me. Behind me figuratively. I’m thinking face-to-face for the event itself.”
This episode, I am willing to bet, is much more popular with lady-viewers than with the other kind, since it’s essentially about how men are kind of the worst. Buffy sleeps with Parker and then gets the old we-were-just-having-fun-you-knew-what-this-was speech. Anya sleeps with Xander, who promptly ditches her without explanation. A newly vampirized Harmony just wants her new boyfriend Spike to forget about his ex, but instead he tries to kill her. Willow escapes unscathed, because she is dating only-nice-guy-in-the-world Oz! This episode’s a bit of a bummer, but damn it, it tells it like it is. Plus, Harmony and Spike have the best dynamic ever– you know, when he’s not trying to murder her.
Those are some good episodes, y’all. But there are twenty more even better episodes ahead! Isn’t it nice to have something to look forward to in your bleak existence?