Buffy the Vampire Slayer still proves it is an iconic show even after ending over 15 years ago. Apart from centering on a strong and complicated heroine, it constantly delivered well-crafted episodes. Each episode often had a mixture of humor, fear, friendship, adventure, and deep reflection. However, certain episodes featured scarier elements, while others leaned more heavily on humor.
This episode is scary for reasons perhaps not typical to the horror genre. Buffy retreats to a dazed-out state, and initially no one can reach her. Finally, after battling demons and vampires, she encounters an evil that she doesn't know how to beat: Glory.
Glory, as a goddess from another dimension, appears to be unstoppable. She wants Dawn, Buffy's sister, who is the key to bringing her hell dimension into ours. Buffy wants to protect her sister, refusing her to be sacrificed. At the same time, she isn't sure of her powers, fearing that she may have to sacrifice her humanity in order to save everyone. No matter what she does, it seems that she will fail, and this is scary. Buffy has never failed her loved ones, and she fears that she may.
While this Halloween episode seems scary in that each character has to see their fear actualize, in the end it isn't. When they materialize the demon, which looks scary in the picture, it is incredibly small. The demon is so small that they can't take it seriously, and Willow even calls it cute. In the end, Buffy squashes it with her shoe. This representation of fear shows that their fears are not as oppressive as they think.
In addition, this episode features Anya dressing as the creature that she fears the most: a bunny.
This is one of the first episodes where we get a better glimpse at how horrible Warren actually is. He and the trio create a device to make any woman their slave. Warren chooses his ex, although the other two don't realize that she is his ex, at the time. He takes over her independence, trying to make her a sex slave. When she regains control, luckily, and accuses Warren of trying to violate her, he kills her. Some may say that Warren killing Katrina, his ex, was an accident, but we aren't sure. Either way, this episode shows how dark Warren gets, establishing him as a true villain.
Buffy would expect demons and vampires to be evil or true villains, but Warren proves that humans can be just as bad, and possibly worse.
While this episode featured one of the most heartbreaking reveals, Buffy telling her friends that they ripped her out of heaven when they brought her back, it also had some sincerely funny moments. This is why it is on this list. Additionally, it is one of the more groundbreaking episodes as it is a musical. The demon makes everyone sing and dance out what they aren't saying, which doesn't sound bad until we realize that people are dancing themselves to death.
Musical numbers that put this episode on the list include Buffy's Going Through the Motions song where even the vampires that Buffy kills sing about how they have noticed our slayer going through the motions on her hunts. Then we have Spike's rocking solo where he sings Let Me Rest in Peace, after which he says to Buffy like an abandoned puppy-dog, "So you aren't staying then." For the final note, no pun intended, the demon discovers that it was Xander who summoned him, not Dawn, meaning that Xander would have to be the demon's bride. Suddenly, the deal is off.
Although we wouldn't say this is one of the strongest episodes, the mob element makes it scary. In this episode, Joyce, Buffy's mother, discovers what appears to be the bodies of two dead children. She and the other parents spin into mob mentality, trying to find the killer. Add to this that Joyce has only recently found out that Buffy is a slayer (Season 2) and has problems with that fact. In addition, Willow's mom is finally present, and finds out that Willow is a witch.
In order to seek justice for the two dead children, both of these mothers are convinced to kill their own children. We know that Joyce deeply loves Buffy, so for her to get to this stage, it is very scary indeed. The dead children are revealed to be a monster that produces chaos and feeds on this mob energy that ultimately ends in death. Luckily, the actual face of the monster is revealed, and Buffy easily kills it. Still, the actions of Joyce and Willow's mom aren't addressed in depth.
This is a Xander focused episode. He has been set aside by Buffy and the gang, who are frantically trying to save the world. Ironically, of course, is that Xander saves the world, but no one knows. He ends up joining the "cool" crowd, which actually happens to be macho zombies wanting to do damage.
At one point, Xander goes to ask Buffy for help, but Buffy is in the middle of a soap-opera like moment with Angel. The music swells when Buffy tells Angel, "I don't want to lose you." Xander clears his throat to get her attention. Immediately, the music is off while Buffy and Angel look at Xander. When he leaves, the music swells again as the Buffy/Angel verse continues. This is the episode where Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes fun of itself, inviting us to laugh, and we do.
Angel, after a moment of true bliss, loses his soul and becomes Angelus. Up until this point, Giles and our Scoobies have only read about how bad Angelus was. Now, they get to experience it. He stalks Buffy, leaving her a drawing of a sleeping Buffy on her pillow. He kills Willow's goldfish, stringing them together on a fishing line. Angelus is scary, not because he is a soul-less vampire, but for two distinct reasons. 1.) We have known Angelus as Angel, one of the good guys, and it is hard to see him as Angelus. 2.) Angelus is not just evil, but he is gleeful in his acts. He doesn't want to just kill for the sake of killing; he wants to see them suffer.
This is especially seen with Jenny and Giles. He kills Jenny, but stages her body in a painful reveal by making Giles think that Jenny has arranged a romantic night for them: music, candles, flower petals. Giles reads a note that tells him to go upstairs. With a big smile he climbs the stairs, only to see dead Jenny posed on the bed.
Willow, hurting from her break-up with Oz, does a spell to ease her pain away. While this spell doesn't work, she ends up conducting one more powerful: Whatever she says to her friends, comes true. When she angrily tells Giles that he can't see, he then literally can't see. When she calls Xander a demon magnet, he literally becomes one. However, the funniest part of the episode happens between Spike and Buffy.
Willow is frustrated that her best friend, Buffy, isn't there to help her through her break-up grief since Buffy has been spending time interrogating Spike. Willow then says, that they should get married. Cut to Spike proposing to Buffy on bended knee, and Buffy jumping into wedding planning mode.
The scariest episode, hands down, is Hush. Not only is it a brilliant episode where we get to see more physical acting than dialogue, it is terrifying. Everyone awakes to find that they have no voice. In the night, the "Gentlemen," and their minions, cut out people's hearts. We see people silently scream as the Gentlemen scarily look on with large, white smiles while they cut out hearts.
Not having a voice to even scream is terrifying. While there are humorous moments in this episode, the overall story is like an original Grimm brothers' fairy-tale, frightening to its core.
When the adults eat the band candy, they develop into their adolescent selves. We get a glimpse at who they were when they were young. Finally, we get to see Giles as the cool and rebellious Ripper. Joyce and Giles listen to music together and couple up.
We love seeing these sides of our adults characters come out, and we love seeing the adolescents having to become the adults. This is a generally fun episode. Buffy the Vampire Slayer does a great job in providing humor and horror, and even heartbreak from time to time.