Certain episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are more notable than others, such as “Hush” (no dialogue of any kind for most of the episode), “The Body” (dealt with the not at all supernatural death of Buffy’s mom and featured no background music), and “Once More with Feeling” (the musical episode).
While these should be considered mandatory viewing for any Whedon fan, there are many others that deserve recognition, and here’s my personal top eight!
8) Killed By Death (2×18)
What: There’s a demon that only sick kids can see. It kills via eyeball horror. Elissa has crawled under her bed and isn’t coming out for the next year.
Why: The Gentlemen are frightening because you can scream all you want but no one can hear you. Der Kindestod is frightening because people can try and help you all they want… but only you can see it. No one else will know what it is or how to stop it, and that scares me more. For a series that deals with monsters on a regular basis, this is the only episode that truly scares me.
Seriously, Google what this thing looks like. Those eyes have haunted me since I was in sixth grade.
7) Where the Wild Things Are (4×18)
What: The urges of orphans who used to live in what is now a frat house possess people at a party with destructive consequences. Lots of sex happens. It’s Riley, so no one is turned on in the slightest.
Why: Everything in moderation. Living a strict and severe life can be just as damaging as living a life without responsibility or care for the needs of others. Also, the way these orphans were treated (having their hair cut off if they were too concerned with their looks, forced baptisms in the bathtub) show that some of Buffy’s creepiest foes aren’t demonic in the slightest.
6) I Was Made to Love You (5×15)
What: Recently dumped by Riley and treating this like a bad thing, Buffy thinks must be something wrong with her. Meanwhile, a robot built to the perfect girlfriend is dumped by her creator and it roams around town looking for him.
Why: Warren is a great bad guy. He’s first introduced in this episode as a slightly twisted, but ultimately harmless nerd, and goes on to become a disgusting, sexist pig who….
However, what I really like is how Buffy learns that there is nothing wrong with her. April was programmed to be the perfect girlfriend for Warren, and even she was dumped. You just can’t help how other people feel about you, and the rise and fall of any relationship hinges on everyone involved, not just one person.
5) The Weight of the World (5×21)
What: Buffy goes into a catatonic state after Glory captures Dawn. Willow magically enters Buffy’s mind and learns that Buffy feels guilty for being tempted to give up in the face of danger.
Why: Buffy’s desire for it all to end comes from honestly feeling like she can’t win and from the pressure being too much for her to handle. Willow tells her there are more important things than guilt, and the real lesson is to move on in spite of it.
What are your top eight Buffy episodes? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check back next week for the top four!