To follow up on our recent Buffy discussion, here is a whistle-stop guide to some of our favourite episodes.
A pivotal episode for the future of the series. Spike and Dru take on the Scoobies for the first time; we witness Snyder and the police covering up supernatural events (or was just gangs on PCP?); and Joyce finally gets to see Buffy’s heroic side while indulging in some axe-wielding of her own. Just don’t try the lemonade.
Buffy isn’t just heroic – she also gives strength to the people around her. In her absence, the Scoobies fight the good fight in Sunnydale, while in LA Buffy can’t help but be drawn in to the plight of a group of missing runaways. We also get one of the best fight scenes in the whole series as Buffy takes on a whole gang of Hellraiser-esque demons in another dimension.
Bored now! Vampire Willow crosses over from the alternate reality seen in ‘The Wish’ and Alyson Hannigan clearly has a blast in this episode, especially in scenes where Willow tries to pass herself off as her own evil doppelgänger
Graduation Day (1&2)
Three seasons of ‘highschool is hell’ ends with a literal bang. The Mayor is undoubtedly one of the best Big Bads in the Buffyverse, and the response from the whole school encapsulates the ethos of Buffy – you can be strong on your own, but people are even stronger together.
Proof that you can create an iconic monster in a single episode. Buffy has a track record of giving us huge plot developments in the middle of high-concept episodes and this is no exception. Along with the genuine horror of The Gentlemen, the episode serves up plenty of humour from the characters’ inability to speak, including Giles’ classic slideshow to Dance Macabre. And for a series that has provided oodles of quotability, this episode showed that Buffy was more that pithy one-liners – story, structure and characters were always at its core.
A New Man
Giles ponders his relevance and, with some intervention from Ethan Rayne, promptly turns into a demon – which, while unfortunate, does give him the opportunity to indulge in a little revenge against Maggie Walsh. The odd couple routine with Spike really comes into its own as Giles has no choice but to ask for help from the one person who can still understand him.
If this had been the end, it would have been a perfect one, as Buffy leads the final charge against Glory and her minions. You can even choose to end the Buffy saga here… but you’d be missing out.
Once More With Feeling
Probably the most popular Buffy episode ever. The musical demon Sweet is summoned to Sunnydale, causing the whole town to occasionally burst into song. The problem is, everyone starts singing the truth, whether they want to or not. Skeletons come tumbling out of cupboards to a terrific soundtrack of musical numbers. Now every show wants to “do a musical episode”…
A classic ensemble episode which shows the strength of the whole cast. When Willow’s spell goes awry, everyone in the Magic Shop forgets their identity, waking up confused and under attack. Logic inevitably fails to help them figure out who they are.
What happens when you need to earn a living, but saving the world gets in the way of a career? Buffy faces up to the future by taking a job at a fast food restaurant that is harbouring a sinister secret. Plus, those burgers make us hungry every time we watch it. Mmmm doublemeat medley…