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Your Top 5 Episodes of Season 4

vampmogs

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I thought it would be fun if we did this for all seasons;

1) Who Are You: This episode ticks all the right boxes for me. Nuanced and thoughtful, entertaining and action-packed, funny, beautifully shot, phenomenally acted etc. It's "Freaky Friday" but the plot is so relevant to the Buffy/Faith relationship ("What do I hear about everywhere I go? Buffy. Who does everybody thank? Buffy. But did anyone else ask if you could be more like me!")
2) Restless: A tremendous insight into my four beloved characters. A bittersweet episode in that in many ways it acts as a swan song to S1-S4 but it works perfectly as the bridge to S5-S7. It boasts some of the most impressive cinematography of the entire series and is Whedon's finest directorial effort.
3) Fear Itself: A highly enjoyable episode that captures the Halloween spirit so well. It has some of my favourite shots in the series (Oz in the bathtub, Giles with a chainsaw, the slow pan at the bottom of the stairwell, Willow's floating lights) and some really underrated scenes (Buffy and Joyce not only discussing Buffy's abandonment issues but giving us some much welcomed insight into Joyce's loneliness post divorce/moving to Sunnydale)
4) Pangs: My 2nd favourite comedy episode of the Buffyverse. No matter how many times I rewatch it, which is often, I will never not laugh at some of the lines in this episode ("I think she thought we were crazy" "Well if Anya didn't start the conversation with 'has everyone got both ears?'") and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
5) The Freshman: I'm a big fan of BtVS season-openers and I've always found this one in particular highly enjoyable. Sunday is a superb villain, the stunt work is incredible, Buffy's isolation as she starts college is really relatable to me, and it contains my favourite Buffy/Xander moment in the series.

What are everybody else's choices?
 
B
Btvs fan
Interesting to see you don't rate either Hush or Something Blue. I'd love to know your thoughts why 🤓
EffulgentBitca
EffulgentBitca
Nice list. Also I'm curious to know what's your favourite Buffyverse comedy episode.

WillowFromBuffy

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1. Restless - Probably my favourite episode ever.
2. Who Are you? - This may be the quintessential Faith episode.
3. Pangs - The banter in this episode is beyond anything. And above all, it is a great exploration of the ground family theme. However, Buffy is the only one who has lost a family, so the Scoobies don't quite understand how important it is for her to form a new one.
4. Hush - This episode is on a whole other level from everything we have seen up to this point. I love the silent acting.
5. Harsh Light of Day - It says a lot that this episode gives us the return of fan favourites like Spike and Anya, but it is the new and improved Harmony who steals the show.

A bittersweet episode in that in many ways it acts as a swan song to S1-S4 but it works perfectly as the bridge to S5-S7.
Really? I feel like S4 and this episode in particular feels really disconnected from the high school seasons. "Restless" just encapsulates everything that is great about S4 to me. And it does point forward to some of the weirder moments in S6. There is very little that reminds me of earlier seasons, except for the returns of Oz and Snyder. There are new additions to the cast. The issues the Scoobies are going through are new. The sets are mostly new.
 

Mylie

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1. Fear, Itself : I adore this episode, it's fun and it's a great character study for multiple characters. I wouldn't change anything about it.
2. Hush : such an ambitious and well done episode that is both funny and intelligent in the way it tackles communication.
3. Pangs : I kind of hate myself but this episode is really enjoyable to watch!
4. The Freshman : my favorite season opener. I think it introduces the new season (and environment) perfectly. It's also filled with great moments like Buffy killing Sunday, the Buffy/Xander talk and Willow being so in her element. It's kind of a repilot and so colorful, I love it.
5. The Yoko Factor : I think this is a very well done and underrated episode. It's kind of the culmination of an arc for the scoobies. It's funny and sad and it shows how Spike can still do damage.
 
vampmogs
vampmogs
I'm glad to see another lover of The Freshman. I think the episode is majorly underrated!

vampmogs

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Really? I feel like S4 and this episode in particular feels really disconnected from the high school seasons. "Restless" just encapsulates everything that is great about S4 to me. And it does point forward to some of the weirder moments in S6. There is very little that reminds me of earlier seasons, except for the returns of Oz and Snyder. There are new additions to the cast. The issues the Scoobies are going through are new. The sets are mostly new.
See, I think S4 is very similar to the high school seasons both aesthetically and tonally. A lot of fans cite The Freshman as being noticeably lighter but I think the darker scenes are still lit like S1-S3. The cemeteries look the same, the vampire dusting effects are the same, the choreography is the same, The Bronze and Giles' apartment remains and the characters look fairly similar (Buffy still has the classic blonde hair). And we're still close enough to the high school years that S4 deals with a lot of loose ends from S3 (Angel appearances, Faith/The Mayor, Percy, Harmony, semi-regular appearances of Sunnydale High etc). For me, it's S5 that feels largely disconnected with the remodelling of The Bronze, never showing Giles' apartment again after Buffy VS Dracula, never seeing Sunnydale High again after Out of My Mind, only one appearance from Angel, a change in both the choreography-style and dusting effects, new cemetery shots, the nighttime scenes having this bluish tint over them whilst the day time scenes were very orange-y, Buffy ditching the platinum blonde for honey etc. And with Dawn's insertion into the series and Spike gaining more prominence there's a shit of focus towards new characters whilst remnants of the high school era (Oz, Faith, Sunnydale alums) are absent and feel like distant memories. I also think S4 still retains some of the show's horror roots (Fear Itself, Hush) whilst S5 feels absent of them entirely.

Restless to me harkens back to those roots whilst prepping us for the tone of S5-S7. It feels like a bridging episode much the same way, IMO, S4 feels like a bridging season. It's not quite the high school era but it's not quite S5-S7, either. But I do think it's much closer tonally and aesthetically to the former rather than the latter. When I say it feels like a swan song that is in part because it's the last appearance of Oz and Snyder, but also because it's the last episode that really features the Core Four so prominently as the main characters of the series.
 
WillowFromBuffy
WillowFromBuffy
That's some good points, though I tend to divide the show into S1-3, 4-6 and 7.
Mylie
Mylie
Interesting points. I usually divide them s1-3, s4-5, s6-7

Btvs fan

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Ok my go

1) Something Blue. Such great moments like the Amy cameo to "seeing Angel in LA even for 5 minutes" line, Giles delight at Buffy asking him to give her away before realizing whst he's doing. Also Buffy's part me of thinks Love has to go hand in hand with pain and fighting. Plus of course Spuffy though I'm well aware it was completely unintentional at the time 😄

2 ) Who Are You For all the reasons given above. I think Eliza as Buffy was spot on in the Inching you were inching line. Damn I wish we had more Faith. While both SMG and JM sizzled in there scene together.

3) Hush I just love that exposition scene. While the extra sets and score are all noticable. Great acting by the cast too.

4) Fear Itself Giles with the chainsaw is just awesome. Oz in the bathtub and "actual size" are just great.

5) This Years Girl Faith's back yay. Harry Groener in The Mayor scenes kills it. While the fight scenes peak with the glass door break scene.
 

vampmogs

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@Btvs fan I think Hush is a great episode but once the novelty wears off I long for the dialogue again. Also, despite being a huge fan of the action sequences, I must admit that the clocktower fight drags on way too long. It brings the episode down for me a little. That said, I still like it and it would've ranked 6th for me.

As for Something Blue, I actually find it to be the most overrated episode in fandom alongside Tabula Rasa and Band Candy. I actually enjoy the episode at the beginning but as soon as the spell shenanigans kick in it loses me pretty fast. It's another episode where the fight sequences drag on way too long and are repetitive (the demon chase is a bore) and I don't find a lot of it to be all that funny, to be honest. It was funnier earlier in the episode when the characters were acting like themselves (Buffy taunting Spike about her neck) but Buffy behaves so OOC later on that I feel like I'm watching strangers. It's one of those episodes you're just expected to like because the plot synopsis sounds so farfetched (Buffy and Spike get married! Giles goes blind! Hijinks ensue!) but, IMO, there's way funnier episodes *shrugs*
 

Btvs fan

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@Btvs fan I think Hush is a great episode but once the novelty wears off I long for the dialogue again. Also, despite being a huge fan of the action sequences, I must admit that the clocktower fight drags on way too long. It brings the episode down for me a little. That said, I still like it and it would've ranked 6th for me.

As for Something Blue, I actually find it to be the most overrated episode in fandom alongside Tabula Rasa and Band Candy. I actually enjoy the episode at the beginning but as soon as the spell shenanigans kick in it loses me pretty fast. It's another episode where the fight sequences drag on way too long and are repetitive (the demon chase is a bore) and I don't find a lot of it to be all that funny, to be honest. It was funnier earlier in the episode when the characters were acting like themselves (Buffy taunting Spike about her neck) but Buffy behaves so OOC later on that I feel like I'm watching strangers. It's one of those episodes you're just expected to like because the plot synopsis sounds so farfetched (Buffy and Spike get married! Giles goes blind! Hijinks ensue!) but, IMO, there's way funnier episodes *shrugs*
Thank you for your thoughts. Despite me loving it, Iv always thought it was the most unintentional episode. It was about Buffy getting over bad boys and realising she would be happy with a nice guy like Riley. Of course that's not what the audience took from it including me 😄
 

vampmogs

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@EffulgentBitca My favourite comedic episode is Dopplegangland 😍

@WillowFromBuffy That's a really interesting division. I can't say I've ever seen someone divide the series like that before! I'd say a case could be made for the following divisions;

S1-S3/S4-5/S6-S7:
The high school years, the college years, the post-college years
S1-S5/S6-S7: The WB years, the UPN years
S1-S4/S5-S7: Pre Dawn and Post Dawn
S1-S6/S7: In terms of quality (lol)
S1/S2-S7: I know a lot of people don't think the series really started until S2
S1-S3/S4-S7: The high school era is regularly referred to separately from the rest of the series

Personally, I tend to sometimes find myself dividing S1-S4/S5-S7 or S1-S5/S6-S7 when I think of the series. But I commonly feel myself dipping into S1-S6/S7 as well.
 
BuffyBot22
BuffyBot22
Haha my division in my head is even different form all of these. I do s1-s3, s4, s5-s7
FaithLehane16
FaithLehane16
I agree with @BuffyBot22 . Also how can people really say that the series started in S2? Do they disregard the 1st Season? Were they smoking something?

WillowFromBuffy

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@vampmogs All of those makes some sense, but to me, the most obvious is 1-3, 4-6 and 7.

At the end of season 3, Buffy leaves both high school and the Watchers Council.

There are big changes to the characters lives. We get to see Giles become more than just Buffy's watcher. He and Xander are looking for their place in the world. Willow comes out as gay. Her identity as a witch becomes more marked. Buffy spends all three seasons missing her parents, which isn't completely new, but it is a change from how she often felt smothered by Joyce before. The question of what it means to be a slayer also becomes more acute.

Anya, Spike, Riley and Tara become regular members of the cast, while Angel, Oz and Cordelia leave. These new characters are quite different from the ones who left, so it effects the show quite a bit.

The motif of the found family (which appears in all the Whedon shows). In high school, the Scoobies were just friends. As adults, they need a stronger connection to stay together.

The show looks crisper and brighter.

There is more experimentation. Episodes like "Hush", "Restless", "Superstar", "Fool For Love", "The Body", "Weight of the World", "Once More With Feeling", etc. feel very different from anything the show did previously.

There is more whimsy. There is song. There are weird characters like The Gentlemen, Kathy, Doc, the Cheese Man, The Loan Shark, the Buffy Bot and Sweet.

S7 doesn't have Tara. The tone is far more dour. It is darker (visually) than the previous three seasons, though it looks very different from the high school seasons. The structure of the show is very different, especially outside the few strictly self contained episodes. There is a host of new characters. Character relationships are reshuffled.

Everything is just very different.
 
Cheese Slices
Cheese Slices
I've always considered 5-6-7 a trilogy of some sorts along with 1-2-3, with S4 as the interlude, but you make some very good points.

Btvs fan

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@vampmogs All of those makes some sense, but to me, the most obvious is 1-3, 4-6 and 7.

At the end of season 3, Buffy leaves both high school and the Watchers Council.

There are big changes to the characters lives. We get to see Giles become more than just Buffy's watcher. He and Xander are looking for their place in the world. Willow comes out as gay. Her identity as a witch becomes more marked. Buffy spends all three seasons missing her parents, which isn't completely new, but it is a change from how she often felt smothered by Joyce before. The question of what it means to be a slayer also becomes more acute.

Anya, Spike, Riley and Tara become regular members of the cast, while Angel, Oz and Cordelia leave. These new characters are quite different from the ones who left, so it effects the show quite a bit.

The motif of the found family (which appears in all the Whedon shows). In high school, the Scoobies were just friends. As adults, they need a stronger connection to stay together.

The show looks crisper and brighter.

There is more experimentation. Episodes like "Hush", "Restless", "Superstar", "Fool For Love", "The Body", "Weight of the World", "Once More With Feeling", etc. feel very different from anything the show did previously.

There is more whimsy. There is song. There are weird characters like The Gentlemen, Kathy, Doc, the Cheese Man, The Loan Shark, the Buffy Bot and Sweet.

S7 doesn't have Tara. The tone is far more dour. It is darker (visually) than the previous three seasons, though it looks very different from the high school seasons. The structure of the show is very different, especially outside the few strictly self contained episodes. There is a host of new characters. Character relationships are reshuffled.

Everything is just very different.
I'd argue that S4 is different also because of the Angel spin off. Both that and Angel S1 feel very together . You had three crossover storylines which they purposely started on Buffy S4 but deliberately finished on Ats a different show to get that show up and running. You had Spike and the Gem of Amarra/Buffy and Angel with Bangel then Faith in her 4 parter.

Even in Ats S2 with the FFL/Darla Crossover it wasn't starting an ending a story from one show to the other like above as both were separate. Even Drusilla's/Harmony and Willows appearances on both show's are very disconnected and not one overall arc.

The closest we ever really get again is Ats S4 and Buffy S7 with Faith and Angel and the amulet to set up Spike for Ats S5.
 

Priceless

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1. Something Blue
2. A New Man
3. Fear Itself
4. Who Are You
5. Hush

This was really difficult, special mention to Pangs & The Freshman

I think of the seasons as 1-3, 4&5, 6&7, mainly because 6&7 have to be watched together and I see them more of a set then any other seasons.
 
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1. Restless - Perhaps the most experimental episode of Buffy. And this says something. It's weirdly mesmerizing, intelligent, with masterful foreshadowing and characterization done at its best.
2. Something Blue - Always a delight, from start to finish.
3. Hush - Another unique episode coming from season 4. Well-loved and much praised, and deservingly so, this one is impressive on many levels, from its eerie atmosphere, to the laugh-out-loud scenes.
4. This Year's Girl/ Who Are You? - The beginning of a great AtS crossover filled with some of the very best material involving Faith.
5. Pangs - I can't help it. Buffy wanting the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, the bear, the hilarious lines, and the small moments. They all just get to me.
 
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thrasherpix
thrasherpix
And having Spike sit at the table so it's "perfect," only he's in ropes and not expected to eat, always makes me laugh at the messed up absurdity of it.

RachM

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  1. Hush - such an innovative episode, really showcases the series' strong characterisation, mixes comedy and horror well and I really like the Fairy Tale aspect to the episode.
  2. The Freshman - I feel this episode is an underrated gem; it so perfectly captures that frightening transition from high school to university, reaffirms Buffy's faith in herself through Xander and provides some lovely heartwarming moments. A strong opener in a series which doesn't always have the best season premieres.
  3. This Year's Girl - I love a good Faith-centered episode and this one really showcases how far Faith has fallen and how mentally unstable, alone and lost she is.
  4. Fear Itself - kind of a rehash of Nightmares but with a fun Halloween twist. It's interesting to see how everyone's fears have changed/evolved since Season 1. Plus we get to see Giles with a chainsaw!
  5. New Moon Rising - I love Oz's return, Willow's struggle to choose between him and Tara, the Official Confirmation that Willow and Tara are lovers, Riley learning to see the world in shades of grey and the beautiful and bittersweet goodbye between Oz and Willow at the end.
 

Cheese Slices

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1) Restless : such a perfect interlude between the early seasons and the later seasons; the atmosphere is riveting, the possible interpretations are numerous while still being guided and not nonsensical for the sake of it. It's just a mesmerising, beautiful episode.
2) Hush : this is an amazingly crafted episode, hilarious with a great atmosphere. I don't rank it as high as some because it lacks any important emotional beat, but still a fantastic piece of work.
3) Who Are You ? Great character study, fantastic acting, brilliant all around.
4) Pangs : Hilarious, cute as hell, zings in the best of ways. Iconic.
5) A New Man - Something Blue : S4 Giles is both adorable and sad, and here we get this is a nutshell; a hilarious episode, with the fantastic Spike/Giles duo and some delicious Spike/Ethan, and the conclusion between Buffy and Giles is really touching.
Something Blue is not a great episode but the comedic chemistry between each cast member (both with and without the spell) is just delightful, with plenty of now iconic lines and moments.
 

DeadlyDuo

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1. The Harsh Light of Day- It's the last time we get to see unchipped evil Spike in action.
2. A New Man- A little bit of comedy never goes amiss. Ethan Rayne returns, Spike and Giles team up, what's not to like.
3. Hush- The Gentlemen are a good monster of the week.
4. The Initiative- Spike steals every scene he's in.
5. The Freshman- They could've done more with Sunday and done away with Kathy. Perhaps a human Sunday should've been Buffy's roommate who ends up getting sired and their big fight isn't just about Slayer vs Vampire but also them trying being so annoyed with each other.
 

vznspike

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Black Thorn
  1. Pangs
  2. Something Blue
  3. Hush
  4. A New Man
  5. The Harsh Light Of Day
Special mentions to Doomed, Beer Bad, and Superstar
 
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