I never reread my posts and they are therefore riddled with grammar and spelling errors. Enjoy!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Buffy - My Best and Worst of Everything Part 1 - FAVOURITE EPISODES

10. The Wish - S3E9

The Wish is an alternative reality episode, (always fun) in which Cordelia makes a wish to a vengeance demon (our very own Anya, who thereafter took up Cordelia's mantle as the character who says whatever the hell she likes) that Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale. The delight of this episode is seeing characters nothing like they are now. A leather bound Xander and Willow are an item, eerily mirroring Spike and Drusilla's early relationship and when we finally do see Buffy, she emulates a small, female Rambo. Willow is undoubtedly the best part of the episode, in all her corset-clad evilness. Referring to Angel as 'the puppy' and then torturing the crap out of him wouldn't have seemed out of place coming from Drusilla and Willow's trademark "Bored now" line is first seen here, echoed later when Willow becomes the Big Bad in season 6. Fascinating episode and good fun. Dopplegangland later revisits the alternate reality seen in this episode and is rather fun too.

9. Lies My Parents Told Me - S7E17

I never found season seven particularly involving, but as the series is nearing its climax, this one just sneaks right up and smacks you in the face. I found myself on the edge of my seat the whole time. Principle Wood has been correctly told by the First that Spike killed his slayer mother when he was a child, and he sets out to end Spikes life, manipulating him with his still active trigger 'Early One Morning'. After discovering Buffy has had Spike's chip removed, Giles agrees to help and stalls Buffy. The episode itself is spliced with clips from Spike's past (which is always fascinating) and the episode has it all. Emotion, tension, edge of your seat fighting. Very involving and exciting episode.

8. Hush - S4E10

Some people might be quite shocked to see Hush so low. But, like my partner feels about Doctor Who's Blink, it's a great episode with some fantastic monsters, but I feel it has been overhyped by fans. I still very much enjoy it though, and it manages to hold a decent level of interest for the full hour. Sunnydale has been taken over by a strange case of... laryngitis? Everyone has lost their voices, and The Gentlemen, floating men with bald heads, grey skin and alarming grins are stealing everyone's hearts, and no one can hear them scream!  The Gentlemen (and their straightjacketed minions) are fantastic monsters and they are pant wettingly scary. Their elegance and demeanour, with an almost over the top grace and politeness makes them even more disturbing. Whedon interestingly once remarked: "The Gentlemen and their straitjacket-wearing minions, who clumsily flap, gyrate, and crouch as they move, are representative of class disparity and patriarchy: The Gentlemen, with their Victorian suits, move effortlessly to accomplish what they set out to do while their minions, whom Whedon called "footmen", do the "dirty work". With so many levels, and genuine scares and humour,  it's unsurprising that it was nominated for an Emmy.

7. Chosen - S7E22

This one makes it onto the list purely for being the last episode. It's not one of the best episodes of Buffy ever, there are some cliché moments, cop outs, and there's a lot they get wrong, but my love for it comes with the raw emotional impact of the fact it's the last episode. We lose many characters, including some of the key members of the Scooby Gang in quite upsetting ways and it marks the end of an era in the Whedonverse. As well as the loss, we finally get some closure in Buffy and Spikes relationship and any character that required redemption prior to this episode is redeemed. It's just incredibly emotional and it can't not be in the list.

6. Once More With Feeling - S6E7

I'm sure most people expect this one to be higher too, but again, I do think it's overrated. None the less fantastic and well composed. I'm sure most know it's a musical episode, but the joy comes in the form of the fact that none one in it claims to be a professional singer. It's just a bunch of actors giving it their all for the cause of a brilliantly fun episode. The whole thing is pure joy, if at times, a little cringe worthy, but that all adds to it. It's delightfully cheesy, and actually musically and lyrically it's pretty damn good. Catchy with great sing along factor. Joss Whedon has a bit of a gift for clever lyrics and humour (see Doctor Horrible for further proof) and as well as being very humorous, it's very important to the recent story arc, Buffy having recently been unknowingly dragged out of heaven by her friends, who brought her back from the dead. It also documents her ongoing struggle, and the end presents important moments in that arc, and marks a significant turning point in her relationship with Spike.

5. Becoming Part 2 - S2E21

Inarguably the most heartbreaking episode of  the entire Buffy series. If you don't know what happens the first time you watch it, you will your heart bleed at the end of the episode. It was a shock viewing it the first time round. I can still remember the stunned silence in my living room after it happened. As if seeing Buffy's slow breakdown over the series, as she watches her beloved Angel (now the souless Angelus) tear her world apart, isn't enough, we also discover that only Angel's blood can stop Acathla opening the hell mouth. We knew what was coming. But we didn't expect it to happen like THAT. If you haven't seen, then you'll just have to watch, (or wiki it) but I refuse to spoil that for anyone. I had to suffer. You will too. Just have a pack of tissues ready and prepare to cry.

4. The Gift - S5E22

The Gift is just a high quality episode in every way. It was television gold. It had everything, action, emotion, surprises, (Joel Grey) and it was totally edge of your seat stuff. It was the episode that answered all the questions we'd been asking ourselves. Will Buffy finally beat Glory? Will Dawn really die? Will Tara's mind be lost forever. The final battle was thrilling, and incredibly clever. It's also an important episode for Spike, as we finally begin to see the extent of his devotion to Buffy in his valiant attempt to save Dawn, and the horror on his face when he realises he may have failed and left her to the mercy of the wolves. That and his breakdown after the thrilling and upsetting climax. It's definitely the most exciting and well written climax of all the series, in my option (some would argue that title goes to Graduation Day Part 2 or Chose).

3. Restless - S4E22

I LOVED this episode when I was a child, which probably comes from my love of dreams and the intensity of my own ones. In this episode we see the gang attacked by the first Slayer whilst they sleep. The episode is riddled with metaphors and symbolic imagery, as well as humour, and they hit the nail on the head with atmosphere.
It is like watching four people's actual dreams being projected onto the television. The weird, nonsensical dialogue, the strange imagery, people acting completely unlike they would in real life, the choppiness of being one place and then suddenly another. Fantastic writing and direction. The repeat watch factor is fantastic. It might not be arc changing episode, but the insight we get into the characters minds is fascinating and important. I have a lot of love for this episode.

2. Fool for Love - S5E7

Fool for Love has been one of my favourite episodes since I first watched it back in the year 2000. I'm sure it mostly comes from my love of Spike.
He's a fantastic creation and his background is just as interesting and well constructed. In this episode, we see Spike giving Buffy a crash course of how a Slayer get's herself killed. The episode is fantastically written, and the past and present scenes glide seamlessly together, until they're almost merged, and past Spike is speaking to present Buffy.
The monologues are thought provoking and at times, unnerving, and James Marster's performance throughout is absolutely fantastic. He's manages to be a amusing, whilst maintaining a high level of uneasiness, and the sexual tension between the two leads is almost palpable. The episode has genuine emotion and the end is unexpected and telling. A fan favourite and it's easy to see why; The episode is bloody brilliant.

1. The Body - S5E16

The Body is probably one of the single finest hours of television I have ever watched. The episode is about dealing with loss, and it deals with it in a more honest and raw way than anything I've ever seen before. Buffy comes home to find her mother, Joyce, a character we've come to love and feel warmly for, dead on the sofa. It's a blunt and honest as it seems. Her mother had complications with her surgery that went undetected and died. It happens in real life. I can only describe the whole experience of watching it like having someone prod an open wound.

It really is painful, but it's also clever. It manages to replicate the stomach turning feeling of loss you may have experienced if you've ever lost someone before. Months of thought has gone into writing and even the tiniest details are important to the plot. The giant buttons on Buffy's phone appearing large as she dials for an ambulance. The babbling and saying unusual things to those who she speaks to in the initial moments after finding her mother. 

The negative space in Dawn's painting. The lack of use of incidental music works highly in favour of the realistic atmosphere here, and it was a fantastic decision on the director's part. The most moving part probably comes in the form of a monologue from Anya. A character who doesn't understand the human customs of death, and we finally see her cry for the first time when no one will explain it to her. It's also the first time we aptly see Tara and Willow, one television's earliest lesbian couples, share an intense kiss. The whole episode is painfully human and highly emotional. It is, however, not without its flaws. There are some moments with Xander I could do without and I'm not fond of the ending at all. By my love for it surpasses those things, and it is hands down my favourite episode of Buffy. (If only by a little!)

Honourable mentions:  Killed By Death - S2E18, Conversations With Dead People - S7E7 and all episodes with Willow as the big bad, S6E20,21,22

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