The 25 Best Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episodes, Pt. 4: #10-1

Alright. I know everyone has been on the edge of their seat waiting for me to finish up this damn Buffy list. I know I have, and my ass is starting to get pretty sore. From sitting on the edge of my seat, you see. That’s not how chairs are supposed to work.

Anyway, the final installment is here, but first, an announcement:

Lenny of Lenny Tunes and I have created a podcast in which we discuss our mutual favorite thing in the world, television. It’s called Secret Lover (1), and I don’t care what your favorite podcast is; you’re about to trade up.(2) You have your choice of downloading and/or streaming it on iTunes or Podbean! Lucky you!

And now, on to the thrilling conclusion of my list of the 25 best episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Images are from LeaveMeTheWhite.com unless otherwise noted.

10. Tabula Rasa (06×08)

Anya: What? I’m just saying what everyone’s thinking, right baby?
Xander: You are attractive and have many good qualities.

The delightfulness of this everybody-gets-amnesia episode is undercut only slightly by the fact that no one would have gotten wacky magical amnesia in the first place if Willow weren’t an abusive girlfriend. The highlights of the episode are watching Spike and Giles decide they must be a father and son and then try to work out their issues, and watching Giles and Anya make out. Heehee. Plus, bonus Michelle Branch!

9. Intervention (05×18)

Buffybot: Angel’s lame. His hair grows straight up and he’s bloody stupid.

Awww, Buffybot. You’re all I need in life. This episode is great because it provides the sexy visual of Spike-on-Buffy action without forcing you to think about the unpleasant emotional reality of that couple. Plus, the readouts on Buffybot’s screen are hilarious (“Willow, best friend, gay [1999-present]” and “Positions1 Positions2 Positions3 Positions4” are two of my favorites.)

8. Passion (02×17)

Buffy: Giles didn’t set this up. Angel did. This is the wrapping for the gift.

I love a good Angelus episode. This has Giles going through one of the most horribly heart-wrenching moments of the entire series. My only complaint is the goddamn narration by Angel and/or Angelus that bookends the episode. Yeeeeeesh.

7. Innocence (02×14)

Angel: I got a message for Buffy.
Buffy: Then why don’t you give it to me yourself.
Angel: Oh, it’s not really the kind of message you tell. It sort of involves finding
the bodies of all your friends.

More Angelus. Yes please.

6. Surprise (02×13)

Oz: I’m gonna’ ask you to go out with me tomorrow night, and I’m kinda nervous about it, actually. It’s interesting.
Willow: Oh, well, if it helps at all, I’m gonna say ‘yes’.
Oz: Yeah, it helps. It creates a comfort zone.

Who doesn’t love thinking about teenagers losing their virginity? Um… it’s a great episode anyway.

5. Who Are You (04×16)

image from Buffy World

Buffy (in Faith’s body): Stop inching. You were inching!
Giles: Look, I know what you’re going to say, and, and…
Buffy (in Faith’s body): I’m Buffy.
Giles: All right, I didn’t know what you were going to say, but that doesn’t make you any less crazy.

This body-swap episode is especially amazing because of the skill with which Eliza Dushku and Sarah Michelle Gellar are able to impersonate each other. We’re all friends here, and I feel like I can be real with you guys, so I’ll just say it: Faith’s a terrible character. But, that said, this largely Faith-centered episode successfully sucks you in and makes you care about her. Nice.

4. Once More, With Feeling (06×06)

Sweet: Something’s cooking, I’m at the griddle/I gave Nero his very first fiddle.

MUSICAL EPISODE! MUSICAL EPISODE! MUSICAL EPISODE! Seriously, what can’t Joss Whedon do?

3. The Body (05×16)

Anya: I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she’s… there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore. It’s stupid. It’s mortal and stupid. And Xander’s crying and not talking. And I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever. And she’ll never have eggs or yawn or brush her hair. Not ever. And no one will explain to me why.

This episode is beautiful and amazing. Too bad it’s horribly depressing and I never want to watch it again.

2. Restless (04×22)

Giles: Everybody that Willow’s ever met is out in that audience, including all of us. That means we have to be perfect.

This episode simultaneously reflects what dreams are like, explores the inner thoughts of the Scooby Gang, produces some of the weirdest, funniest lines of the entire series, AND seriously creeps me out every time I watch it. Now that’s good Buffy.

1. Hush (04×10)

(image from Buffy World)

Spike: Like I’d bite you, anyway.
Xander: Oh, you would.
Spike: Not bloody likely.
Xander: I happen to be very biteable, pal. I’m moist and delicious.
Spike: All right, yeah, fine. You’re a nummy treat.
Xander: And don’t you forget it.

It’s hard to come up with a good quote for this episode, since the vast majority of it is silent, but the above interaction between Spike and Xander is pretty adorable. I hardly even have to defend this episode since it’s widely regarded by Buffy fans as the best episode, so I guess I’ll just reiterate that it’s perfect and leave it at that.

Footnotes

(1) A reference to Homer Simpson’s immortal line about television: “Teacher. Mother. Secret lover.”

(2) Loving homage to a joke by comedian Anthony Jeselnik. Do y’all know about Anthony Jeselnik? I didn’t used to like him, but he’s beautiful and I’ve come to associate his face with his humor and, well… time makes fools of us all.

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