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December 22, 2014

The Five (by Five): Best episodes of Buffy

by Keith McDuffee, posted Oct 24th 2005 9:07AM
buffy the vampire slayer logoY'know, I thought it would be a cool idea and all to let you in on what I think are the top five episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, seeing as it's almost Halloween and all (and yes, I know, baddies find the day to be boorish and cliché). But can I really sum up seven seasons of episodes within a measly list of five? Well, I'll do my best, and I'm sure no matter how I order them or list them, someone's going to disagree. Big time. So, without further ado...

First, I need to have some honorable mentions here, because I just don't feel right at all not having them in the list. If I could, I'd have listed 'The Wish' (3.9) and 'Tabula Rasa' (6.8) among my favorites, but this is 'The Five', after all. I know many will tell me I should have added 'The Body' (5.16) to the list, but sorry, it's not one of my favorites.

5) The Zeppo (3.13) -- This episode is better known to me as "The Xander Episode". Finally the guy with no special powers gets his day in the sun, except nobody's around to witness it. Xander takes down a high school bully zombie gang, saving the school and the rest of the Scoobs in the process. Not only that, but the man loses his virginity to Faith. Faith! A nice touch was how much the writers downplayed the battle that Buffy and gang were calling the possible "end of the world," as we barely caught a glimpse of what was going on during brief scenes when Xander was in the high school. Cap it all off with the look he gives Cordelia. Perfect.

4) Fear, Itself (4.4) -- I just loved Oz. I hated that he later left the show, and I always dreamed up scenarios in later seasons when he'd return for good. He plays a great part in this episode, where a "fear demon" takes hold of a fraternity house during a Halloween bash, turning everyone's worst fears upon themselves. Oz's worst fear was, of course, turning into a werewolf outside of a full moon and then hurting Willow. And then there's Anya's idea of a scary costume: a rabbit. In a classic ending, the gang finally comes face-to-face with the fear demon, and we learn that the heading next to its picture in Giles' book translates to "actual size".

3) A New Man (4.12) -- This had some great interaction between Giles and Spike, something we hadn't really gotten to see in the past. I also love the Ethan Rayne character, who in this episode changes Giles into one of the very things he fights: a demon (I always thought that the BBC's Ripper series should start out with Giles meeting Ethan, so we could learn more about their sordid past, but I digress). Since Spike is the only one who can understand the Fyarl demon language, Giles relies on his help. I didn't really care for season four all that much, mainly due to the featured big-bad being a bit disappointing. Thankfully this (and one other) episode brightly outshines what was a rather lackluster season.

2) Once More, With Feeling (6.7) -- The famed musical episode had me a little nervous. Could these cats actually sing? And could Joss put together a story that made sense in a musical setting? Oh, why oh why did I doubt the Whedonmeister. It's evident that a lot of time and planning was put into making sure this episode worked and worked very well. Not only were the songs well done, but the lyrics made complete sense with the story and the characters. Some of the songs were sung very well, too. Everything's explained in a very Buffyverse-believable sort of way, and we even get a huge plot point for the series thrown in there for good measure: Buffy and Spike's first kiss. No list of Buffy favorites is complete without this episode. None, I say!

1) Hush (4.10) -- No brainer. If someone who had never seen Buffy (blasphemy!) asked me to show them just one episode of the show to get them hooked, this would be it. Joss and company pull off one hell of a stunt by making an almost completely speech-free episode, and damn does it work. Also, this is one scary-ass episode. Holy creepy on those 'Gentlemen' and the gimps that hurried after their floating bodies. And those plastered on grins. Parents, do not show this episode to your young kids; they will have nightmares for months following watching this. And once again, we get a huge piece of the Buffy story added in the mix, as Riley finally finds out that Buffy is a little bit "special".

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Liz

2010-Very late entry. 1-The Body 2-Hush 3-Once More With Feeling 4-Grave 5-Ted

June 12 2010 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Georgina

Storyteller. Just hilarious!

August 04 2009 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jessica

Where is Band Candy? I repeat, Where is Band Candy? It is one of the most awesome episodes ever. Since I have just gotten into Buffy, I have only seen seasons 1-3, but these are my favs from those seasons:

Band Candy
Doppelgandland
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
Halloween
Nightmares

there are too many favs in seasons 1-3 to make a definative list, so i cant wait to see the rest of the episodes.

April 12 2009 at 7:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sww

Top 5:

5. Passion
4. The Body
3. Hush
2. Restless
1. Once More, With Feeling

Honorable mentions: Storyteller, Conversations with Dead People, Doppelgangland, The Wish, I Only Have Eyes For You, Innocence, Becoming Part II, Graduation I and II, Tabula Rasa, Fool for Love, The Gift, Selfless, The Dark Willow Trilogy (Villains, Two to Go, Grave), Superstar, Chosen.

March 21 2009 at 2:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Derek

Since you are all Buffy fans I wanted to offer a different view of the meaning of "Once More With Feeling." If you care to read my extreamly long article I would appreciate any comments.

http://redge777.wordpress.com/pop-culture/analysis-omwf/

July 31 2007 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marshall

Oh wow. LOL There is soo many great episodes, and I think all of them are superb in there own way, but if I had to choose.....

Surprise/Innocence, Once More With Feeling, Hush, The Gift, and Conversations With Dead People.

The others are definitely amazing, but those episodes I could watch again...and again....and again.....

November 05 2006 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tammy

I know this is a year later but I have to say one of my favorite scenes is when Buffy confronts the council. When she realizes she has the power and they don't. I'm not as well versed in what season, what episode it is but it's when they are dealing with Glory and the council has been putting them all through the hoops. Just the way she handles herself when takes over and puts them all in their place. Of course the great ending... Glory is a God. Just one of my all time favorite scenes, not necessarily the whole episode.

October 31 2006 at 11:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Meena

Spike and buffy make a good couple PLEASE download buffy and spike episodes to www.youtube.com please to contact me 2 talk more go 2 lilmischeeky13@hotmail.co.uk

August 14 2006 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David McFarland

My favorite episodes would most definitely match most of those given above, including Restless, Hush and The Body, and Once More with feeling, which I will defend to my death. Alright, yes, cheesy, but somebody said "To me, it's a crappy gimmick episode that doesn't advance the plot, doesn't give us any new insights into the characters, doesn't have any good action, doesn't have any emotional resonance" - to you, i say watch it again. It's the climax of that season ... well, not the climax, but all the action rises, advances us towards terra's death not long afterwards, explains why in hell buffy is out of touch with damn near everything... 'nuff said.

May 14 2006 at 2:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andrew

Could only agree with 'Hush', 'Zeppo' and 'Once More'. Definitely not 'Fear Itself'. 'The Body' HAS to be in there. No other episode of tv deals with death in a more realistic, delicate, saddening, beautiful way.

Mine would be ...

1)The Body
2)Becoming 1&2
3)The Zeppo
4)Hush
5)Normal Again

... with 'Once More With Feeling', 'Storyteller' and 'Restless' as close runners up

April 21 2006 at 3:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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