Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of my favorite shows from the WB/UPN years and is still holds a place in the hearts of fans everywhere. Through seven seasons, Buffy saved the world again and again while dealing with life, love and everything else in a teenage girls life. Here’s the top ten episodes of the show:
10) Normal Again (Season 6, Episode 17)
Season six was not a huge favorite for many Buffy fans but this was a standout episode of that season. The Trio call on a demon that injects Buffy with a venom that alters her mind and makes her think that her life for the past six years was all an illusion and she was a patient in a mental hospital. She is told by her still together and alive parents that she must kill her friends to become well. Though she came out of it, the episode leaves you with an open-ended question of which reality is true. Is Buffy a Slayer in Sunnydale or is she a mental patient in Los Angeles?
9) Restless (Season 4, Episode 22)
The season four finale ended differently than previous seasons, as the Big Bad of season four, Adam, had been defeated in the prior episode. The gang was ready to relax and decompress with a movie marathon which was really all of them falling asleep right after the FBI Copyright warning (if you remember these apparently you are really old) started playing on movie one. This episode introduces The First Slayer, who becomes a huge part of the rest of the series but here she infiltrates everyone’s dreams and tries to kill them in their sleep. When she comes face-to-face with Buffy in her dream, she tells Buffy that a Slayer is alone and can’t have friends which is something Buffy has dealt with throughout the series. The dreams also set the stage for Dawn’s arrival in season five.
8) Passion (Season 2, Episode 17)
This episode showed how evil Angelus truly was and Buffy realizing that she loves a man who no longer exists. When Jenny Calendar reveals the truth about why she is in Sunnydale (she is a descendent of the Gypsy clan that cursed Angel long ago) her relationship with Giles becomes strained however she tries to fix it by finding a way to restore Angel’s soul. But before she can tell Buffy and the gang, she is brutally slain by Angelus and her corpse was left cruelly in Giles apartment in a sadistic display for him to find.
7) Chosen (Season 7, Episode 22)
The final episode of the series has Buffy prepping for the fight of her life with The First Evil. The final plan involved Willow becoming a goddess and igniting every potential Slayer in the world so there was no longer only one. There was death (Spike and Anya), and the destruction of Sunnydale once and for all. But in the end, Buffy was smiling because she was no longer alone in the world and the burden of being “The Chosen One” was no longer hers to bear.
6) The Wish (Season 3, Episode 9)
This is an alternate universe episode that shows life without Buffy around. Cordelia, still hurting from her breakup with Xander, blames everything on Buffy. In the series first appearance of Anya, she makes a wish that Buffy never came to Sunnydale. The Buffy-less world is full of curfews, death and vampires with free reign over the town due to the Master never getting stopped by Buffy in season one. It doesn’t take long for Cordelia to realize she made a mistake and even in the new universe, Giles is smart enough to figure out how to change things back.
5) Innocense (Season 2, Episode 14)
This episode took a literal showing of what happens when you sleep with a guy and he suddenly changes on you. Buffy and Angel finally succumbed to their desires and had sex for the first time, which gave Angel a moment of pure happiness and reversed the curse that gave him a soul so many years ago. The freshly evil Angelus immediately takes great joy in torturing Buffy and her friends but when he and Buffy finally come to blows at the end of the episode, they realize both will have a harder time killing the other than they thought. Even the evil Angelus still loved Buffy.
4) Earshot (Season 3, Episode 18)
This episode caused some controversy at the time due to it being scheduled to air one week after the Columbine High School shooting and thus was pushed back five months. After absorbing the blood of a demon, Buffy develops the ability to read the thoughts of everyone around her which at first was a fun skill that then became a burden driving her to insanity. During the mass rush of thoughts, she hears someone threaten to kill everyone in school and tries to find out who it is before it’s too late. In the end she discovers that Jonathan, feeling ignored, was trying to kill himself to which Buffy explained that the only reason most people are ignoring you is because they are too focused on their own problems. But the real threat? The lunch lady, who likened the students to vermin and was trying to poison their food. Yet another reason to hate cafeteria food.
3) Once More, With Feeling (Season 6, Episode 7)
Also known as the musical episode, this was one of the more creative and well done musical episodes done by a show in recent years. A demon cursed the town and caused everyone to break out in song. The singing was useful to the plot and helped Buffy share that she wasn’t in a hell dimension like everyone thought, she was pulled out of heaven by her friends. It was a revelation that opened a new set of issues for the gang to process, along with the news that Dawn was acting out, stealing and basically just begging for some attention from the emotionally fragile Buffy.
2) The Body (Season 5, Episode 16)
There are few episodes that hit as hard as this one did. Buffy discovers her mother has died and deals with her grief. While losing Joyce to natural causes as opposed to a demon hurt enough, the biggest heartbreak was Buffy, and the rest of the Scooby Gang, realizing that through all of the battles that they have fought and won, the one battle nobody can defeat is death. The episode focused on the pain and isolation one feels when a loved one has died and the anger and confusion you deal with while you process your feelings.
“But I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. 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 … and Xander’s crying and not talking, and … 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!”-Anya
1) Hush (Season 4, Episode 10)
This episode is a favorite on many TV lists and for good reason. It blew the lid off on originality, for 27 minutes there were no words spoken and it told a fantastic story through that. The Gentlemen steal the voices of everyone in town so they can collect organs without any screaming from the victims. This is the only episode of Buffy to ever be nominated for an Emmy for writing and it’s still listed as one of the best of the series and considered one of the most terrifying and creative hours on television.
Was your favorite episode listed? Do you feel there was one missed? Comment below.