10. Willow Tells Buffy She’s Staying in Sunnydale After Graduation ~ “Choices”
This is a very unsung episode, in my opinion. Probably because the third season, more than any other I think, pulls off the remarkable feat of having both the most compelling Big Bad(s) ever AND the most excellent standalone eps. It was the “Jagged Little Pill” of the “Buffy” seasons!
“Choices” is one of those bridge episodes that do a lot to advance the plot, while being less plot-, and more character-driven. And this scene says so much about Willow’s character, and about just how much these two have really become like sisters, their love is so great.
Willow: Actually, this isn’t about you. Although I’m fond, don’t get me wrong, of you. The other night, you know, being captured and all, facing off with Faith. Things just, kind of, got clear. I mean, you’ve been fighting evil here for three years, and I’ve helped some, and now we’re supposed to decide what we want to do with our lives. And I just realized that that’s what I want to do. Fight evil, help people. I mean, I-I think it’s worth doing. And I don’t think you do it because you have to. It’s a good fight, Buffy, and I want in.
Buffy: I kind of love you.
Willow: And, besides, I have a shot at being a bad ass Wiccan, and what better place to learn?
Buffy: I feel the need for more sugar than the human body can handle.
Buffy: Yes, please. It’s weird. You look at something and you think you know exactly what you’re seeing, and then you find out it’s something else entirely.
Willow: Neat, huh?
Buffy: Sometimes it is.
9. Everybody’s Sad Montage ~ “Tabula Rasa”
Michelle Branch is singing “Goodbye to You” at the Bronze and Tara’s saying goodbye to Willow ’cause Willow tried to erase Tara’s memory, and Giles is LEAVING which is exactly why they should have ended the show right then and there, or so I thought at the time though now not so much, and then Dawn watches Tara leave and it’s really sad because Tara was definitely now that I think about it, very much like Joyce. And then Buffy and Spike KISS and it is of course hot, but also desperately sad.
“And it hurts to want everything and nothing at the same time.” (Michelle Branch)
8. Willow and Oz Get Back Together! ~ “Amends”
Everybody knows that I adore Willow and Oz the mostest of all, they are just so freaking adorable and lovely and sweet. And the scene where they get back together is just incredible. Willow had cheated on Oz with Xander, and when Oz discovered them, he of course did not want to talk to Willow. But when he finally does, it is SO, so sweet.
Oz: This is what I do know: I miss you. Like, every second. Almost like I lost an arm, or worse, a torso. So, I think I’d be willing to… give it a shot.
Willow: Do you want us to… to hug now?
Oz: Yeah, I’m good for that.
7. Buffy’s Heart Falls Apart Right In Front Of Us ~ “Amends”
No, I have no intentions of making this list balanced. It’s about honestly my favorite heartwrenching moments, and have I mentioned that Season Three was goooood? So, yes. Angel is all set to kill himself by staying on a mountaintop while the sun rises, and Buffy is like, in physical pain trying so hard to get him to get inside, because he really doesn’t have time to spare. Sarah Michelle Gellar really does some incredible work here. Sometimes she can chew the scenery a little, but this is where it really works for the character, because she looks utterly frantic, trying to save the love of her life, who she’d already had to watch die once.
Angel: Am I a thing worth saving, huh? Am I a righteous man? The world wants me gone!
Buffy: What about me? I love you so much… And I tried to make you go away…I killed you and it didn’t help. (crying) And I hate it! I hate that it’s *so* hard… and that you can hurt me *so* much. (sobs, then harshly) I know everything that you did, because you did it to me. Oh, God! I wish that I wished you dead. I don’t. (whispers) I can’t.
Angel: Buffy, please. Just this once… let me be strong.
Buffy: Strong is fighting! It’s hard, and it’s painful, and it’s every day. It’s what we have to do. And we can do it together.
6. Giles Is The Best Father To Buffy Ever ~ “Amends.” No, I’m totally kidding, it’s “Innocence.”
While Season Three was the best season ever, the Buffy/Angel/Angelus love triangle of Season Two was some of the most brilliant, gutwrenching, EXCITING television ever made. In my ever humble opinion of course. In this episode, we all learn that Angel lost his soul again due to having sex with Buffy. And that’s like, really tough for Buffy, and adding to the woe is that it’s pretty sucky, having your father figure find out you had sex with a vampire. So but anyway, in this scene, Buffy and Giles finally have a sad, quiet moment together, and it is beautiful.
Buffy: You must be so disappointed in me.
Giles: No. No, no, I’m not.
Buffy: But this is all my fault.
Giles: No. I don’t believe it is. Do you want me to wag my finger at you and tell you that you acted rashly? You did. And I can. I know that you loved him. And he has proven more than once that he loved you. You couldn’t have known what would happen. The coming months are going to be hard…I, I suspect on all of us, but…if it’s guilt you’re looking for, Buffy, I’m, I’m not your man. All you will get from me is, is my support. And my respect.
5. The Last “Buffy” Scene Ever ~ “Chosen”
This scene, just because when I first saw it, I was sobbing my EYES out, because, like, this was the last “Buffy” EVER. It was the first show that despite loving it less, I cared about through the end, and you know, it lasted seven years. Most of my twenties. That’s a lot of life to have a show to pal around with you in.
Xander: All those shops gone. The Gap, Starbucks, Toys “R” Us. Who will remember all those landmarks unless we tell the world about them?
4. Buffy Punches Giles ~ “Passion”
Angelus has just killed Jenny, and Giles goes after him himself, into the den of three super-strong and smart vampires. Dangerous! So Buffy goes after him, and ends up having to save him from a fire — hard to explain. When outside, they really get to lean on each other, literally and figuratively, as they both fully face their grief for the first time.
Giles: Why did you come here?! This wasn’t your fight!
(Buffy punches him in the jaw, and he spins and falls to the pavement.)
Buffy: Are you trying to get yourself killed?!
(She begins to cry and crouches down to hug him. He cries and hugs her back.)
Buffy: You can’t leave me. I can’t do this alone.
3. Buffy Learns That She’s Going To Die ~ “Prophecy Girl”
Season One was on the weaker side, compared to what the show became at one point. But it still had some great moments, and one of them is in the season finale. Buffy overhears Angel and Giles discussing a prophecy that she is going to die that night, when she faces the Master. Buffy is in shock, and gives an impassioned speech where she throws books and really displays some serious terror and helplessness, knowing that even though she says she’s quitting as Slayer, in the end, she will do the right thing. Which means dying. It’s like O’Henry meets Poe!
Buffy: Giles, I’m sixteen years old. I don’t wanna die.
2. Buffy Finds Her Mother ~ “The Body”
I really can’t even write much about this, but I couldn’t leave it off the list, because I’m not sure any scene’s ever affected me more. Buffy comes home to find her mother lying on the couch, dead from an aneurysm caused by complications from her brain surgery earlier in the season. And it’s just, I really can’t even write about it. It’s just one of the hardest scenes to watch, ever. And more incredible work from Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Buffy: She’s cold.
911 Operator: (slight beat) The body is cold?
Buffy: No, my mom — should I make her warm?
1. Buffy Sends Angel to Hell ~ “Becoming, Part Two”
In order to close the vortex that is literally unleashing hell on earth, Buffy must kill Angel. What makes the scene one of those true JAW-dropping scenes when you first see it, and ultimately so sob-worthy, is that while Buffy and Angel are fighting, Willow is performing what seems to be an impossible and dangerous spell, in order to restore Angel’s soul. And the WHOA factor comes when the spell WORKS…but not before Angelus opens the hell portal thingy. And so NOW Buffy not only has to kill Angelus, but she has to kill Angel, the man whom she loved and hasn’t seen since the night that she slept with him. She kisses him goodbye, and then kills him. And then this incredible montage set to Sarah Mclachlan’s “Full of Grace” plays, but I already wrote about that in another blog!
Buffy: Close your eyes.
© February 7, 2007