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Buffy The Vampire SlayerHorrorbrain.com Top Ten Buffy Episodes Part 1
Friday 7 October 2005, by Webmaster
So what exactly is the greatest Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes of all time? Is your Top Ten the same as mine? I’ll give you a hint...’Bad Eggs’ or ’Beer Bad’ won’t be on my list.
Before I get into my definitive list as to what the top ten Buffy episodes of all time are, I must first inform you what won’t be on this list and what barely came close. You will not find any episodes on this list that are defined by their single moments. A single excellent moment does not necessarily make a great episode. You will not find on this list any battle against The Master, the moment where Angel loses his soul after sleeping with Buffy, the death of Angel, Doppelganger Willow, the battle against the Mayor, etc. They are great moments, yes, but not necessarily from great episodes.
There are also some favorite episodes of mine that had to be left off the list much to my dismay. I looked back at all the seasons of Buffy and left with an initial list of over thirty-six episodes that I had to trim down to only ten. Some of these honorable mentions include: “Killed by Death,” “Amends,” “The Zeppo,” “Earshot,” “Who Are You,” “Restless,” “Selfless,” and “Conversations With Dead People.” Those are only a few and are in no particular order.
Now, onto the list:
‘Passion’ is on this list for several different reasons. For one, it was a creepy episode that dealt with what can happen when a significant other goes from being that nice person to that possessive lover. I distinctly recall Angelus’ creepy voiceovers as he watched Buffy at the Bronze and as she slept. The episode is also ranked because it features the moment when Angelus killed Jenny Calendar by snapping her neck. Jenny and Giles had been at odds for several episodes, but this marked the one where it looked as if they were going to get back together. In one of the best moments of Buffy’s run, we see Giles come home, expecting a romantic evening with Jenny. An opera is playing in the background, roses are thrown about, and there, just as he enters his bedroom, right when the opera reaches its crescendo, it is revealed that Jenny’s dead body is waiting for him in his bed. The heartbreak of Giles is one of the defining moments of the series. This also marks the first time where Buffy agrees that Angelus must be stopped at all costs...even if that means she must kill Angel in the process.
‘Helpless’ marked a departure for the show, in that many things that were once solid were suddenly flipped upside down. Joss Whedon started Buffy because of his want to make a strong, horror movie heroine, who didn’t run around crying until she fell down right at the feet of her killer. This marked the episode where Buffy became that clichéd horror victim that Joss wanted to get away from. As part of her Slayer training, the Watchers make Buffy go through a test where all her Slayer powers are taken from her, and she must be confined to a sinister house to battle a ravenous vampire with no Slayer powers whatsoever. The vampire actually breaks loose earlier on and kidnaps Buffy’s mom as well. There is a chill-inducing scene where we see the room with all the Polaroid’s of Buffy’s mom. The other big departure is Giles betraying Buffy. It marks the first time where Giles lets Buffy down, by being the one who took her powers away and not objecting to the council until afterwards.
Many people have bad-mouthed the final two seasons of Buffy, though in general I still thought they were good even if they weren’t on the same level as the earlier seasons. ‘Lies My Parents Told Me’ is great television for several reasons. The first is that we get to see a little more of the history of Spike’s character. We learn that Spike had some mother issues, tried to save her after Drusilla made him a vampire, but ultimately had to kill his own mom after her vampirism changed who she once was in William’s mind. The flashbacks give some intriguing insights into what makes Spike tick. The episode also had a creepy battle between Spike and Principal Wood, which was confined to a garage adorned with nothing but crosses all across the wall. The fight starts off with the eerie playing of the song that transforms Spike into his ‘sleeper agent’ self. What makes the fight so great is all the emotion that inhabits each and every punch and kick. Principal Wood’s mom was a Slayer - the one Spike killed in New York and whose leather duster he wears until this day - and we know that he is fighting to get revenge for his mother. It is a great fight because it relies more on emotions and actions instead of special effects and wirework.