Top 25 Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Numbers 15-11.

Numbers 20-16 can be seen HERE.

#15 “Normal Again”
Episode 117 – Season 6
Featured Performers: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, Nicholas Brendan as Xander Harris, Emma Caulfied as Anya, Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers, James Marsters as Spike, and Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg.
Recurring Performer(s): Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson, Adam Busch as Warren Meers, Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells, Dean Butler as Hank Summers, Amber Benson as Tara Maclay, Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Guest Star(s): Michael Warren as Doctor, Kirsten Nelson as Lorraine Ross, Sarah Scivier as Nurse, Rodney Charles as Orderly, April Dion as Kissing Girl
'She's gone'Writer(s): Diego Gutierrez
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Synopsis in 50 words or less: When Buffy is stabbed by a demon, she begins to hallucinate that she is in a mental institution, learning that the adventures of the past six years in Sunnydale are all a part of her intricate schizophrenia.
Why it’s on the list: One of the more interesting concepts put forth by any episode in the whole series, this episode quite convincing posits the idea that everything we’ve seen as an audience was merely a figment of Buffy’s imagination. The episode ends rather ambiguously, letting the question hang, never fully resolved in the rest of the show’s run. I personally believe that the institution world was hallucinatory, because the series (and even this episode) has had many scenes that do not involve Buffy, scenes she is not aware of. But still, the episode does a good job in instilling doubt. What makes the episode even more impressive is that it is the first effort of the series by both the writer Gutierrez and director Rosenthal. Top 25 on your first shot, good job guys!
Snappy quote:
Buffy: Cause what’s more real? A sick girl in an institution, or some kind of supergirl, chosen to fight demons and save the world? That’s ridiculous.

#14 “Earshot”
Episode 52 – Season 3
Featured Performers: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, Nicholas Brendan as Xander Harris, Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg, Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase, David Boreanz as Angel, Seth Green as Oz, and Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles.
Recurring Performer(s): Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers, Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, Ethan Erickson as Percy West, Larry Bagby III as Larry Blaisdell, Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson
Guest Star(s): Keram Malicki-Sánchez as Freddy Iverson, Wendy Worthington as The Lunch Lady, Lauren E. Roman as Nancy Doyle, Justin Doran as Hogan Martin, Molly Bryant as Ms. Murray
Buffy and JonathanWriter(s): Jane Espenson
Director: Regis Kimble
Synopsis in 50 words or less: Buffy gains the ability to read minds after slaying a demon with that power. Before driving her crazy, it leads to Buffy to learn of a plot to kill the student body.
Why it’s on the list: A perfect blend of comedy and drama. When Buffy first learns that she’ll gain an aspect of a demon, her reaction is funny (worrying about horns and tails). Then, when she learns that she can read minds, it gets even funnier (Xander can’t stop thinking about sex, Wesley thinks of Cordelia, Oz breaks down Descartian logic, Buffy learns of her mother and Giles’ illicit affair in “Band Candy”, Buffy is unable to read Angel’s thoughts). Then, her newfound telepathy threatens to drive Buffy crazy, which brings danger into the episode, as does the revelation that someone will kill everyone in the school (which led to the postponement of the episode when it was set to air a week after Columbine). Then, the Scoobies interrogate potential suspects, which is hilarious. Then, Buffy stops Jonathan from committing suicide, which is touching. Then, Xander saves the day, which is funny.
Snappy quote:
Xander (to Oz, regarding the intensity of the basketball game): Yeah, for a minute there, I thought you were gonna make an expression.
Oz: Well, I felt one coming on, I won’t lie.

#13 “Chosen”
Episode 144 – Season 7
Featured Performers: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers/The First, Nicholas Brendan as Xander Harris, Emma Caulfied as Anya, Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers, James Marsters as Spike, and Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg.
Recurring Performer(s): Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles, Eliza Dushku as Faith, Nathan Fillion as Caleb, David Boreanaz as Angel, Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells, Iyari Limon as Kennedy, Sarah Hagan as Amanda, Indigo as Rona, Kristy Wu as Chao-Ahn, Felicia Day as Vi, Mary Wilcher as Shannon, D.B. Woodside as Principal Robin Wood
Guest Star(s): Lisa Ann Cabasa as Injured Girl, Demetra Raven as Girl At Bat, Katie Gray as Indian Girl, Ally Matsumura as Japanese Girl, Kelli Wheeler as School Girl, Jenna Edwards as Trailer Girl, Julia Ling as Potential with Power #2,
This is the endWriter(s): Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon
Synopsis in 50 words or less: After defeating Caleb, Buffy decides to take the fight to The First by going into the Hellmouth with the potential Slayers to defeat his army before they rise. To do so, Willow casts a spell which shares Buffy’s power with all potential Slayers.
Why it’s on the list: The series finale, “Chosen” finishes what was a season-long effort to wrap up all the loose ends of the series. The episode features a nice, albeit stilted, final appearance from Angel and ends with the most epic battle in the series history. The episode starts of a little slow (after finishing the battle with Caleb continued from the previous episode), which would be detriment to another episode, but in this episode it gives the audience one last chance to say goodbye to the characters in quiet moments. Then, when the episode reaches the halfway mark, a glorious, Lord of the Rings-style battle kicks off, which is as visually stunning as anything the series had ever accomplished. When the smoke cleared, The First evil was defeated, the Hellmouth destroyed, Anya and Spike were dead, and Sunnydale imploded into the ground. That, my friends, is how you end a series.
Snappy quote:
Buffy (to Angel): Are you gonna come by and get all Dawson on me every time I have a boyfriend?

#12 “Innocence”
Episode 26 – Season Two
Featured Performers: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, Nicholas Brendan as Xander Harris, Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg, Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase, David Boreanz as Angel, and Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles.
Recurring Performer(s): Seth Green as Oz, Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers, Robia LaMorte as Jenny Calendar/Janna Kalderash, James Marsters as Spike, Juliet Landau as Drusilla, James Lurie as Mr. Miller
Guest Star(s): Vincent Schiavelli as Uncle Enyos, Brian Thompson as The Judge, Eric Saiet as Dalton, Ryan Francis as Soldier
Buffy has a rocket launcherWriter(s): Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon
Synopsis in 50 words or less: After sleeping with Buffy, the curse that restored Angel’s soul was lifted. Now Buffy and company have to face not only Spike, Dru, and The Judge, but also an evil Angel as well.
Why it’s on the list: “Innocence” was the second half of a two-parter, begun with “Surprise”, marking the series’ move from Monday to Tuesday night. It began with Angel tortured in the street after sleeping with Buffy. He recovers, and then kills a woman who happened upon him in one of the more shocking sequences in the early BTVS episodes. This episode set up Angel as the big bad for the second half of season two, making him quite possibly the best villain the series has ever had. He starts the evil off with a bang in this episode, going back to Buffy after they had sex and telling her that she handled it like “a real pro”, but that it was no big deal, crushing the seventeen-year-old Buffy who had no idea that her boyfriend had just lost his soul. He then sets out to kill her friends (Buffy stops him just in time) and bring The Judge to the Sunnydale Mall to kill all its residents. The scene at the end when Giles tells Buffy that he is not disappointed in her, when she was sure he would be, is one of the most touching moments of the series.
Snappy quote:
Spike: I know you haven’t been in the game for a while, mate, but we do still kill people. It’s sort of our raison d’être, you know.

#11 “Once More, With Feeling”
Episode 107 – Season 6
Featured Performers: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, Nicholas Brendan as Xander Harris, Emma Caulfied as Anya, Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers, James Marsters as Spike, and Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg.
Recurring Performer(s): Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles, Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
Guest Star(s): Hinton Battle as Sweet, Hunter Cochrane as College Guy #2, Daniel Weaver as Handsome Young Man, Marti Noxon as Parking Ticket Woman, David Fury as Mustard Man
Buffy, the musicalWriter(s): Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon
Synopsis in 50 words or less: Sunnydale falls under a mysterious spell which causes all its residents to reveal their innermost thoughts through elaborate song and dance numbers. When they’ve revealed all, they spontaneously combust.
Why it’s on the list: An action-adventure show decides to put on a musical. And it works. This episode shows why the series was one of television’s best, because it was unafraid to take chances, and in doing so, was able to create unique and memorable stories. What’s great is that even though the show went outside the box by doing a musical episode, it didn’t go out of continuity to do so. Instead, it used the spell that turned Sunnydale into a musical to advance the character elements of Xander and Anya’s reluctance, Spike’s love for Buffy, and Buffy’s resentment toward her friends for bringing her back from the dead, and, in doing so, ripping her from Heaven.
Snappy quote:
Buffy: So, Dawn’s in trouble. Must be Tuesday.

Click HERE to continue on to #10-6.

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5 thoughts on “Top 25 Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Numbers 15-11.

  1. Pingback: Top 25 Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Numbers 10-6. « Critically Speaking

  2. Pingback: Top 25 Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Top Five. « Critically Speaking

  3. Pingback: Top 25 Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Numbers 20-16. « Critically Speaking

  4. Does anyone ever find it funny that in Earshot, Jonathon tries to kill himself with a sniper rifle? How do you exactly point that at yourself?

    • Instead of viewing it as a goof, I choose to believe that Jonathan didn’t really think it through and that was the only gun he had access to (you know, instead of it being a narratively convenient way of Buffy thinking there was a sniper in the bell tower).

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