Monday 22 November 2010

Passion #4: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Here we go again with another of my major passions! I arrived late to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When it was first shown on TV, I scoffed at the silly name of the main protagonist and decided it was some kind of teenage "comedy", so I decided to bypass it. When I reached university, Season 3 of Buffy had just started and my flat were very into it. I sat and watched the first episode and found myself utterly gripped by the characters, the dialogue, the emotion. I also spent half the time saying 'Who's that?' or 'Where has that naked man come from, who is he, why are you all surprised to see him?' My housemates were extremely patient, and one of them gave me Seasons 1 and 2 to watch so that I could get myself all caught up. And that was where my love affair began.

I have tried to follow other series (like Charmed, and Smallville, and, more recently, Chuck and BSG). While I have enjoyed them well enough - except Charmed.... - none of them held the same draw for me. None of them seemed to combine the same humour and darkness, and relationships and passion. The central pairing of Buffy and Angel in the first few seasons was inspired, and I longed for them to find peace with each other, even while I knew it could never happen.

Anyway, I thought I would showcase my top five Buffy episodes with stills from the show and my favourite quote. And I would invite you in the comments to share your own favourite episodes. It goes without saying that The Body and Once More, With Feeling are amazing, but they're so often listed as favourite episodes that I tried to present some different ones. Oh, and these five are in no particular order! It was hard enough to narrow down five I loved, let alone then try to put them in some kind of order and pick an absolute favourite *grins*

1) Passion - Season 2

I can't say a lot about the events of this episode without giving spoilers to those who haven't seen it. And I wouldn't want to spoil this explosive episode for ANYONE. When I watched it my jaw was almost permanently dropped. It was one of those episodes where you realised that life in Sunnydale actually was dangerous. The emotions displayed were so powerful - Anthony Stewart Head, in particular, did a stunning job.

Quote of the episode:

Buffy: It's so weird. Every time something like this happens, my first instinct is still to run to Angel. I can't believe it's the same person. He's completely different from the guy that I knew.
Willow: Well, sort of, except ...
Buffy: Except what?
Willow: You're still the only thing he thinks about.

2) Lovers Walk - Season 3

Spike was always one of my favourite characters, so any episode heavy on the Spike goodness was just fine with me. This one resonates with me particularly, because of the situation between Buffy and Angel - insisting that they're only friends, when everyone but them realises that their passion is unchecked.

Quote of the episode:

Spike: The last time I looked in on you two, you were fighting to the death. Now you're back to making googly-eyes at each other like nothing happened. Makes me want to heave.
Buffy: I don't know what you're talking about.
Spike: Oh, yeah, you're just friends.
Angel: That's right.
Spike: You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood -- blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it.

3) Hush - Season 4

Alright, so I didn't include The Body or Once More, With Feeling - but there was NO WAY I could not include this episode in my favourites. It is simply remarkable, from the creepy Gentlemen to the lack of dialogue to the wonderful score. Joss Whedon always enjoyed pushing the boundaries and I believe this is one of his finest hours across everything he's worked on.

Quote of the episode:

Obviously there is not a great deal of dialogue to pick from in this one - in fact, one of the very funniest parts of Hush is where Buffy mimes staking a vampire several times. You try it now, if you haven't seen it, and tell me what it looks like *chortles* #childish I did find an amusing exchange though:

[At Giles's apartment, Xander and Anya are arguing about their relationship.]
Xander: If you don't know how I feel about -
Anya: I don't. This isn't a relationship! You don't need me. All you care about is lots of orgasms.
[The others are silent with disbelief.]
Xander: OK... remember how we talked about private conversations? How they're less private when they're in front of my friends?
Spike: Oh, we're not your friends. Go on.
Giles: Please don't.

4) Fool For Love - Season 5

The first of two from Season 5 - this one deals with flashbacks into Spike's history (remember how I said I rather liked his character? *grin*), and shows his encounters with the two Slayers he has killed in the past. I loved the flashbacks (although Angel's dodgy Irish accent is constantly painful) and I loved the element of vulnerability brought to Buffy's character in this episode. Beautiful work between Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Marsters, as usual.

Quote of the episode:

Flashback Spike: Death is your art.
Spike: You make it with your hands, day after day.
Flashback Spike: That final gasp. That look of peace.
Spike: Part of you is desperate to know: "What's it like? Where does it lead you?"

[Flashback Spike snaps Nikki’s neck]
Flashback Spike: Even you. The only reason you've lasted as long as you have is you've got ties to the world... your mum, your brat kid sister, the Scoobies. They all tie you here, but you're just putting off the inevitable. Sooner or later, you're gonna want it. And the second- the second - [Both Spikes clap their hands together inches from Buffy's face]
Spike: ... That happens... You know I'll be there. I'll slip in... have myself a real good day. Here endeth the lesson.

5) The Gift - Season 5

There were some very high points in Seasons 6 and 7, but part of me thinks that this episode is the *perfect* ending to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It is fitting and moving - and I cry every damn time. Incredible performances across the board, and a killer finish. Just wonderful TV.

Quote of the episode:

I couldn't have picked anything else but this...

Buffy: Dawn, listen to me, listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles… tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world… is to live in it. Be brave. Live… for me.

If you've watched Buffy, then you'll already have your reasons for loving the series. If you haven't watched it, I'm sure you have good reasons. But if this is a series you've just never got around to picking up, then please do it. Season 1 can be a bit rough at points, but once they hit their stride in Season 2 it is amazing viewing. Even the bad episodes are better than 90% of what is being put out most of the time.

Go on - share your favourite episodes, or characters, or lines of dialogue!


  1. I adored Buffy! Like you I was at uni and me and my mates used to watch it every night. I don't exactly know which episode it is, but I love the one with evil Willow, Willow just rocks. And the one with the Halloween party where they get trapped in the house. Again, pretty vague description, but that's all that's stuck with me :D
    I loved Charmed too though lol and Chuck too! Thankfully, they're finally airing it here in Holland after only two years of waiting for it!!

  2. I've been obsessed with Buffy since the very first episode aired on Canadian TV, and that came about because I was obsessed with the movie through most of junior high. The first season started here when I was in the 7th grade, I do believe, and from the first episode, I was hooked. Season 6 had way too many times where I could relate to Buffy more than I cared to admit, and I lost interest in the latter half of Season 7 when it was still on TV, but that was mostly because I was getting into my very critical phase and found fault with everything. But aside from a temporary lapse in judgement then, I've been a fan of the franchise from the beginning, and I can't count the number of times I've watched the DVD sets from beginning to end, skipping over only two episodes. (Those episodes being the one in which Joyce dies, because that one just breaks my heart every time, and yes, I cry; and also the episode where Tara dies and Willow starts on her batshit insane period.)

  3. I STILL have nightmares about Hush. Still. I adore Buffy - I still have yet to see the final episode, I don't know how I keep missing it - I keep saying I'm going to treat myself to the boxset.

    For years before it started there was a man in our town the spit of Spike, trench and everything, I drooled over him then and even more so when Buffy came on.

    Spike was always my favourite. I just loved his accent - even now when I mess up I go " oh buggah!" Teeheehee!

  4. Oh, how I love Buffy! I also came late to the party; so late, in fact, that I started watching it to help cope with my Firefly withdrawal. I bought the first season for wicked cheap and found it so-so. I don't think I'd have continued with the series if I hadn't been able to get S2 from the library. Thank goodness I did--it hooked me straight off. I lost a lot of sleep to the show from thereon out.

    I'm not sure I could pick a favourite episode. I've only ever watched the series very quickly, on DVD, so the individual episodes feel more like chapters in a book than separate (but connected) stories. I've got favourite seasons, instead. S5 is my crack, with S6 and S7 tied for second place. S2 comes after that, followed by S3, S4 and S1.

    And, of course, I have favourite characters: Spike, Xander and Cordy (who I actually liked better over on Angel).

  5. Favourite quote is from "No Place Like Home" (s5).

    Buffy leaves her house and finds Spike, skulking nearby.

    Buffy: What are you doing here? Five words or less.
    Spike (counting the words): Out. For. A. Walk. (pause) Bitch.

  6. Hush was a brilliant episode!

    Got quite bored with Angel in the end but the first season (especially 'Hero') was brilliant

    Maybe that's because i never took to Angel as a character, always loved a bit of Spike action though.

    Loved Charmed and BSG