Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Joss Is Boss: Best Episodes (Part Two)

Last week was Joss Whedon's birthday, and since then I've been inspired to create many posts about him and his body of work (but mostly Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly).

And, as you've probably guessed, I'm doing another one today.

Last Friday, I discussed my top ten favorite characters.

On Monday, I discussed the first half of my top ten Joss-penned episodes (#6-#10) and promised (or threatened or warned...) that today I would reveal my top five favorite episodes.

I intend to fulfill that promise. I know you're super psyched about this, so I won't delay any longer...



5. Objects In Space (Firefly, season one)

What Happens: A bounty hunter steals aboard the Serenity while the crew is asleep, looking to capture Simon and River Tam. It becomes up to River to save them.


Why It's On The List: One of the things I love most about Joss (besides, you know, everything) is how he's always writing unusual episodes that break the mold. This particular outing offers the viewer an inside look at River Tam's mind, and is done in a really beautiful and elegant way. And Joss still finds time to make us laugh.

Favorite Scene: Okay, so I couldn't find any complete scenes from this episode on YouTube, so I'm sharing this snippet that I did find. This is taken from the scene where the crew is discussing River, and what's to be done about her unpredictable behavior.




4. Becoming, Parts I and II (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season two)

What Happens: The season two finale, this is the episode where Buffy goes up against Angelus to stop him from sucking the world into hell. So, you know, it's like every day in Sunnydale, right?

Why It's On The List: This two-part episode has so much going on. Kendra! Buffy gets expelled! Joyce discovers Buffy's secret! Buffy and Spike form an alliance! Giles gets kidnapped! Willow's in a coma! The world's in peril! A truly amazing sword fight! Willow restoring Angel's soul! And (SPOILER ALERT!) Buffy freakin' kills Angel in order to save the freakin' world! Oh, and Buffy runs away at the end. And did I mention there were swords? I love how Joss isn't afraid to rip viewers' hearts out. He'll do the unexpected all in the name of story. This episode makes you laugh and cry, and I adore it. It also contains dialogue like this:

Angelus: No weapons...no friends...no hope. Take all that away, and what's left?
Buffy: Me.



Favorite Scene: All right, so I couldn't find a clip of the sword fight (apart from the above gif), so I'm using the scene where Joyce discovers Buffy's secret.




3. A Hole In The World (Angel, season five)

What Happens: After opening a compartment in an ancient sarcophagus, Fred is infected by an ancient disease that slowly begins to kill her. As the team rushes to find a cure, Wesley begins to realize that there may be no way to save Fred.


Why It's On The List: Another example of how Joss loves to rip viewers' hearts out and stomp on them right in front of your eyes. This episode starts off so well. Fred and Wesley are finally together, and are super happy! (Always a sign in a Joss Whedon show that something horrible is about to happen, I know), and Spike and Angel are debating over who would win in a fight—cavemen or astronauts, so you're smiling and happy and feeling good and thinking about that whole cavemen/astronaut battle, but by the end of the episode, you're sobbing into an ever-expanding lake of tears on your floor. I love the episodes that make me feel, and this episode does that and more.

Favorite Scene: I was hoping to find a scene of Spike and Angel fighting over the cavemen/astronaut debate, but there was'nt one to be found (YouTube, you're really letting me down today.), so instead I have selected Fred's death scene...(sorry about the less-than-stellar quality.)




2. Once More With Feeling (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, season six)

What Happens: The musical episode. A demon comes to town, and suddenly everyone is breaking into song and dance, and revealing their innermost secrets in the process.

Why It's On The List: Did I mention that it's a musical? Once again, Joss is pushing those boundaries and breaking those molds.

Favorite Scene: This episode is nothing but highlights for me, but I've decided to go with the musical number, Walk Through The Fire because it features everyone, is a little bit funny, and a little bit serious.






1. The Body (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, season five)

What Happens: Joyce dies.

Why It Makes The List: Holy hell, this episode is amazing. It's so amazing, that it beat out Once More With Feeling as my favorite Joss-penned episode. Which is really saying something because I love Once More With Feeling. It's so realistic (the brief vampire-slaying incident at the end notwithstanding) and goddamn heart breaking. I've said before that I have the greatest love for the episodes that make me feel, and this episode makes me teary-eyed just thinking about it.

Favorite Scene:



So, that concludes my top ten. If you're a Whedonite, which episodes would you include?

And on that note, you have officially made it to the end of of my Joss Whedon-themed posts...At least until next year, that is. (Unless I decide to do one on Friday, too. But I probably won't.) Thanks for your patience!

23 comments:

  1. So many amazing episodes! "The Body" still gives me chills whenever I rewatch it...

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    1. Oh, me too. Chills, and tears. Many, many tears.

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  2. We live in a spaceship, dude.
    Awesome episode!

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    1. That entire scene has some very funny moments. I'm bummed I couldn't find the entire thing anywhere.

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  3. Good picks all. Makes me want to re-watch both shows and damn, Anya's speech.

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    1. Such a great scene. I just wish my YouTube pick had gone on just a little bit longer to include Willow's response, "We don't know why."

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  4. #5... I loved that one! "Are you Alliance?"
    "Am I a lion?"
    "What?"
    "I don't think of myself as a lion. You might as well though, I have a mighty roar."
    "I said 'Alliance'."
    "Oh, I thought...
    "No, I was..."
    "That's weird."
    One of the best quoteables EVER.

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    1. That's such a terrific exchange! That scene would've been my next choice to use.

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  5. I don't think I've every watched Buffy. I didn't even see the movie that started it all.

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    1. Oh yes, that movie. It's pretty bad. It's my understanding that the studio overruled Joss on what the movie should be, and that the TV series was what Joss wanted it to be.

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  6. Ah yes, The Body...

    Fred is now Root who also died... (Did you ever see Person of Interest? Not Whedon, but still a solid show.)

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    1. I've only seen a few episodes of Person of Interest. They added a Malinois to the cast (Bear, I think his name was), so I checked out a few episodes then. I knew Amy Acker had joined the cast, and that she died in this final season, though.

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  7. Oh man. The one where Joyce dies just KILLS ME. I don't know why I never saw that coming, but I totally didn't.

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    1. I didn't, either, during that first viewing. Upon later viewings, I could appreciate how well-structured the entire season was.

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  8. Oh, how I love Joss. Once More With Feeling is a great episode. It might be time for a Buffy rewatch. It's been a while.

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    1. I've been rewatching snippets ever since I started these posts, but I haven't done a full-blown rewatch in a while, either. I think that must change now.

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  9. I totally agree that Joss knows how to get the most emotional punch out of difficult moments for his characters. Two death scenes, though? Now I has a sad. For my fictional friends. I can't decide if that's awesome or a sad statement of my life.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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    1. I know, this certainly isn't a happy list. I just love it when Joss makes me feel, and those episodes certainly did that. :)

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  10. Well, this is awkward. You've gone and picked an episode I have never even seen.

    Short story long, my wife and I were growing tired of Angel in season 3. (That's the show, not the character. I grew tired of the character halfway through season 1 of Buffy... except when he's evil, of course.) Anyway, I continued watching on my own on occasion, but only when no other show was calling to me. I soldiered through to midway through season 5, to re-watch the first Angel episode I'd ever seen: Smile Time. Then I gave up on it. That was six months ago. Yet now you tell me your favorite episode in the series is the very next one.

    Brilliant timing, Nate. Time to fire up the ol' Netflix again.

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    1. I was a little tired of Angel (the show) by season three, too, but I stuck with it because of that whole "Joss Whedon" thing. And I love Smile Time so very much. If it had been a Joss-penned episode, it definitely would have made the list. But yes, A Hole In The World is the very next episode. Definitely worth checking out, in my humble opinion.

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  11. I haven't watched Buffy for a very long time, so I can't actually remember The Body. Once More With Feeling would be my top choice. We recently watched Firefly with the kids - they were a bit uncertain to begin with, but we ended up watching two at a time :-)

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    1. Right up until the moment where I started typing #2, I didn't even know which one would beat out the other.

      And I had a friend to whom I recommend Firefly, and they had a similar reaction. Uncertain at first, but a true devotee by the end.

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  12. OMG. The heart breaking episodes. I also found that episode before Joyce dies where there's that thing on the ceiling that tries to get her really creepy. Wesley and Fred, oh my gosh. And then at the end of the Angel series when Wesley dies and Illyria pretends to be Fred. I'm tearing up just thinking about it!

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