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Better episode: The Body or The Gift

Joshua

Huge Spuffy Fan!
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These two episodes are considered the highlights of Season 5 for some, and are loved by fans but which is the better episode?

The Body
or
The Gift?

Which is better directed, acted and written?
 

Priceless

Scooby
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The Body. It's an iconic episode of television.

I won't write a review, people much cleverer than me have done that, but I will say that one of the things I love about this episode is that throughout the season leading up to this episode, we see Buffy walking through the front door of her house, calling out to her mother that's she's home, it's a normal and natural occurance that we see four, five, six times before this episode.

The Body opens with that same scene and turns a normal day into something horrific. It's lulled the audience into a false sense of security. It's very clever writing, clever build up to something shocking and completely unexpected. It's writing like that, when it's that thoughtful and good, that makes the best episodes of Buffy so much better than anything else on tv.
 

Scooby Corps

Fly! Be free, little bird, you defy category!
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The Body because I can't think of any flaws in this episode right now. Sarah Michell Gellar is brilliant! Alyson Hannigan is awesome! Emma Caulfield is awesome!!! They're all awseome!!!!

The Gift is also fantastic but Olaf's hammer was a bit lame and I never grasped the complete concept of the Key. Dawn is the Key thus her bloodflow opens and closes the portal. But Buffy's bloodflow closes it as well? So Buffy is the Key too, kind of? Feels a bit as if they'd it not thought through to the end.
 

Bluebird

two by two, hands of blue
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Black Thorn
It's hard for me to compare them! The Body is better as a piece of art, so raw and honest, and captured the emotion perfectly. But The Gift is more enjoyable to watch, it's classic Buffy entertainment with a dark edge thrown in with the killing of Ben. Logically, the finale doesn't make much sense, like @DoktorRock has mentioned, but it was a beautiful metaphor, and maybe the last great metaphor of the show.
 

Fuffy Baith

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Sineya
I would say The Body, but I'm also not a big fan of The Gift. The Body is a simple concept that happens everyday to people everywhere, and really brings in the emotions of what people go through when they lose a loved one. It's a simply story but done beautifully, without music. The Gift is just a wrap up episode of the season and a complex concept of the key. It's good, but I'd not put it in my top 20.
 

Mr Trick

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To be fair I've seen the Body more times. What works against the Gift is that maybe people remember it more for the iconic ending than the episode as a whole. Both great episodes for different reasons though.
 

caitaintdead

caiters gonna cait
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Black Thorn
It's hard for me to compare them! The Body is better as a piece of art, so raw and honest, and captured the emotion perfectly. But The Gift is more enjoyable to watch, it's classic Buffy entertainment with a dark edge thrown in with the killing of Ben. Logically, the finale doesn't make much sense, like @DoktorRock has mentioned, but it was a beautiful metaphor, and maybe the last great metaphor of the show.

^ This basically.

The Gift is wonderful entertainment. I watched it today while a hail storm destroyed my street, tucked up in bed with tea and biscuits and felt the same pure enjoyment that I felt the first time I ever saw the episode all those years ago after watching it dozens and dozens of times. That to me is an incredible feat. There are wonderful little moments scattered throughout the episode that make my smile every time. "Well, not exactly the St. Crispin's Day speech, was it?" "We few, we happy few..." "We band of buggered..." (It possible helps that I'm a bit of a Shakespeare fangirl). Anya is useful, and basically comes up with all the best ideas. "Smart chicks are so hot" "You couldn't have figured that out in high school?!". Or how about the first time that we realise that it's the Buffybot fighting Glory at the beginning. "Glory, you're not the brightest God in the heavens are you?"

The Body, on the other hand, is painful to watch. Just about every rewatch I end up skipping it. I skipped it this rewatch. It is a phenomenal and accurate look at the immediate grief that follows after a loved one dies, something that was raw and real and that just about everyone can relate to. I remember after losing a loved one for the first time when I was 21 and walking down the street on my way home. I felt extreme shock, and couldn't help but relate my experiences, and my friends reactions, to what the gang experiences in The Body.

If I could choose an episode to watch, it would always be The Gift, but The Body is far superior in terms of filmmaking.
 

Ethan Reigns

Scooby
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Oct 14, 2012
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Canada
Sineya
The Body is much better. The Gift never really connected the dots as to why a manufactured product like Dawn could be redeemed by the blood of someone who was obviously genetically different. The Gift was a more fitting series end, but The Body was a showcase of SMG's talent for drama.
 

wickedtiger86

Scooby
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Apr 24, 2009
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America
Sineya
It's been a while since I've seen either of these. (I'm on season 3 in my rewatch.)

But when I think back on the show, I think a lot about The Body. Nearly every scene is stuck in my brain, preserved in my memory. Some parts of it just hurt to even think about.

And I loved that it had no music. There was nothing to really soften the experience in any way. It was all just very well done.
 

Carrie Hopewell

Little girl lost in the woods
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Sineya
The Body for sure. In terms of directing, writing, acting, editing, everything, it was excellent. There are all sorts of interesting and subtle details in this episode that make it a masterpiece. I rewatched it this week and noticed this tidbit. From the shooting script:

TEACHER
Okay, remember, we're not drawing the object, we're drawing the negative space around the object. We just draw the edges of the figure, and then give me a sense of the spaces around, the space in between.
[...]
As Kevin and more kids move toward the glass to see the girl on the floor, whom now we cannot hear -- in fact there is silence entire -- the camera forward, loses them, turning to focus on Dawn's drawing: the outline of a figure, but not the figure itself. Negative space.

I like how the episode is not about the body - Joyce - but rather what surrounds the body, meaning the negative space - the scoobies. And the outline of the figure that Dawn draws looks like her mom lying dead on the couch. It's such a cool detail that shows how well thought out this episode was. It's one of the few Buffy episodes that's perfect from start to finish.

The Gift is a good episode but only the ending is great. Everything else is unremarkable in my opinion. And the ending tries too much to be epic, it becomes cheesy.
 
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