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The 25 Best Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episodes, part 3: 15-11

I hope you’re enjoying this walk down Buffy Memory lane as much as I am, gentle readers. Here’s the next installment of my list. If you need to catch up, you can read the first two installments of this list here and here. As always, screen caps are from Screencap Paradise, unless otherwise noted.

15. Halloween (02×06)


Giles: “Break the spell, Ethan. Then leave this place and never come back.”
Ethan: “Why should I? What’s in the bargain for me?”
Giles: “You get to live.”

I believe my everlasting love of Ethan Rayne has already been documented, but I’ll reiterate: he is a wonderful villain, who brings with him the gifts of wacky mischief  and homoerotic undertones. I wish the show had used him in more than four episodes, but instead of dreaming of what might have been, I’ll just appreciate the times Ethan and I had together. In this episode, Ethan, making his first appearance, sells costumes to the kids that turn them into whatever they’re dressed as. Hence, the world goes topsy-turvy on us as Buffy becomes a simpering noblewoman who mistakes cars for demons and Xander becomes a living G.I. Joe. More importantly, this is the first episode to hint that back in his day, Giles was a total badass, and when the situation calls for it he’ll revert to that badassery in a heartbeat. The perfect man? You be the judge.
14. Earshot (03×18)
I am my thoughts. If they exist in her, Buffy contains everything that is me and she becomes me. I cease to exist. Huh.” – Oz
 This episode makes fantastic use of Buffy having temporary mind-reading powers. We get Oz, the human incarnation of the phrase “still waters run deep,”;  Cordelia, who says everything she thinks; and poor Xander, who simply cannot stop thinking about sex for two seconds. I think we can all relate. “Earshot” also has one of the greatest comedic moments of the series when Xander and the lunch lady simultaneously catch each other doing bad things- and it takes them both a moment to realize that pouring rat poision into kids’ lunches trumps pilfering a piece of Jell-O. This also has an important lesson for teenagers, and, indeed, people of all ages: Nobody else notices you’re miserable because we’re all distracted by our own misery. Don’t kill anyone.
13. Living Conditions (04×02)
image from Buffyworld
Buffy: “So then she’s like, ‘It’s share-time.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh yeah? Share this!'”
Oz: “So either you hit her or you did your wacky mime routine for her.”
Buffy: “Well, I didn’t do either, actually. But she deserved it, don’t ya think?”
Oz: “Nobody deserves mime, Buffy.”

In this episode, Buffy starts to act more like me then ever! Then, everyone comments on what a bitch she’s being and it’s revealed that it’s because a monster is stealing her soul. Well, you win some, you lose some. At least this has the valuable lesson that no one should ever accuse Buffy of being crazy. Even when she only has half a soul, that girl has her shit together.

12. Band Candy (03×06)

Buffy: “Listen to me–”
Giles: “No, you listen to me. I’m your Watcher so you do what I tell you. Now sod off!”

This episode does a great job o drawing attention to how dumb teenagers act by showing the show’s adults acting like teenagers. We get to see Principal Snyder as a lame teenage nerd, Joyce Summers as a ditzy teenage girl who loves bad boys, and Giles as a badass Cockney teenager who goes around smashing shop windows for fun and gets so excited at the thought of Buffy beating up Ethan Rayne that he has to hop up and down to get it out of his system.

11. Storyteller (07×16)

“Oh, hello, there, gentle viewers. You caught me catching up on an old favorite. It’s wonderful to get lost in a story, isn’t it? Adventure and heroics and discovery: don’t they just take you away? Come with me now, if you will, gentle viewers. Join me on a new voyage of the mind. A little tale I like to call: Buffy, Slayer of the Vampyrs. ” – Andrew Wells

Season seven, as a whole, was not bringing it, but this episode, as an individual episode, almost makes up for that. This episode shows the adorable Andrew’s attempts to make a documentary about Buffy and the end of the world that makes him look like less of a best friend-murderer than he is, intercut with footage of Andrew’s fantasy sequences. Tom Lenk is unbelievable in this episode, giving both hilariously bizarre line deliveries and a heartbreakingly real emotional performance. We are as gods!


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The 25 Best Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episodes, part 2: 20-16

It’s Whedon season, and I’m needonin’ some Whedonin’. To tide me over until much anticipated (by me, at least) Whedon flicks Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers come out later this month, I’m revisiting the best episodes of Joss’s best show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

If you missed it, you can read the first part of this list here: The 25 Best Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episodes, part 1: 25-21.

Photos are from Screencap Paradise.

20. “I Was Made to Love You” (05×15)

Buffy: Can you cry? Sometimes I feel better when I cry. But… there might be rust issues.

April: Crying is blackmail. Good girlfriends don’t cry.

Is anything more relatable than a sex robot getting rejected by her creator/boyfriend and then going on a violent rampage? Not to me, but I’m not known for having the healthiest relationships. This episode (which introduces the nerd we all love to hate and hate to love, Warren Mears) is adorably sad while still being entertaining and having some funny moments. Be warned, though- the last scene, which is unrelated to the episode plot, will bum you all the way out. No judgements if you turn off your TV the second Buffy steps into her house.

19. “The Wish” (03×09)

Xander: And they burst in, rescuing us, without even knocking? I mean, this is really all their fault.
Buffy: Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic.
Xander: Mine is much more advanced.

In the wake of her split with Xander– caused by finding him kissing notorious overalls-wearer Willow– Cordelia makes a wish with a vengeance demon (Anya! Welcome to the show, Anya!) that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. Kind of a weird wish, when you think about it, since her problem is with Xander and Willow, but I guess I’ll give her a pass since she was just idly saying that and didn’t know it would come true. It does come true, though, and we get a glimpse into what Sunnydale would be like without Buffy and, equally unnerving, what Buffy would be like without Sunnydale. Most things would be awful, sure, but at least Angel would get tortured a whole lot! Oh well, I guess it’s not worth it.

18. “Lovers Walk” (03×08)

“I gave her everything – beautiful jewels, beautiful dresses, with beautiful girls in them, but nothing made her happy. And she would flirt! I caught her on a park bench, making out with a chaos demon! Have you ever seen a chaos demon? They’re all slime and antlers.” – Spike

This episode has a recently dumped Spike being a whiny little bitch, then sort of getting rapey with Willow. It also has Joyce thinking that Spike is a nice young man she should make hot cocoa for, and that Angel is a monster. (She has some good points there.) What can I say? Those are pretty much my two favorite things.

17. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (02×16)

Angelus: Dear Buffy. I’m still trying to decide the best way to send my regards.
Spike: Why don’t you rip her lungs out? It might make an impression.
Angelus: Lacks… poetry.
Spike: It doesn’t have to. What rhymes with lungs?

Amy the witch turns Buffy into a rat for the majority of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” but despite having less Buffy than any other Buffy, this episode, about Xander and Cordelia fleeing the angry mob of Xander-admiring girls created by a love spell gone awry, is still a delight to watch. Oh, Xand. When will you learn that love spells don’t solve anything? I guess after this episode. Asked and answered.

16. “Superstar” (04×17)

Buffy: “Giles, do you have a Jonathan swimsuit calendar?”
Giles: “No. (pause) Yes. It was a gift.”

Finally, the Scoobies get transported to a universe where Jonathan Levinson is the coolest guy in the world-which, incidentally, is the universe I already live in. It’s awesome to see Danny Strong play a character who’s almost as cool a dude as he is for once. Plus, we get the delight of seeing every character drool over Jonathan, as well as confirmation that no matter what the situation, Buffy’s natural leadership skills will come out eventually.

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The 25 Best Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episodes, part 1: 25-21

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?


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