15. Passion (2x17)
Waffles: This is just such a good Angelus episode. Like, to me, this is by far his best villain episode. His whole monologue is chilling and wonderful and it’s all just so perfectly horrifying.
Taf: This really raised the stakes for the show, and made Angelus a much more serious threat. Great background on the character and a great gut punch in the present day storyline.
14. Fool for Love (5x07)
Taf: This is actually a fairly effective counterpart to “Passion” — it gives us more of Spike’s backstory, giving a character who had become more of a joke as the show progressed back some of his menace, while also underscoring how completely he is love’s bitch.
Waffles: God, I love Spike. I love Spike soooo much. And I love getting to know him more. I also just have always been more interested in Spike’s arc of growing to love Buffy even without a soul than Angel’s more black and white story where he’s either villain or love interest, never this awkward blend we see in Spike.
13. New Moon Rising (4x19)
Waffles: Speaking of people I love: OZ. DANIEL FREAKING OSBOURNE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. This episode simultaneously makes me very happy and very sad. I love Oz coming back but I feel really bad for him but then I’m so happy about Willow and Tara finally getting together! I don’t even know. I’m not equipped to discuss this episode. All I can do is wallow in feels. Tafadhali, take the wheel, quick!
Taf: Other than “Once More With Feeling”, this is probably the Buffy episode I rewatch the most. Like you, I love Oz and Willow and Tara so much that I’m basically just overwhelmed with emotion from start to finish. Plus, as a queer 15-year-old, getting the on-screen confirmation of Willow and Tara’s relationship was pretty meaningful to me.
12. Tabula Rasa (6x08)
Taf: Like all the best BtVS episodes, this both stabs you through the heart and is completely, overwhelmingly hilarious. I almost can’t handle the Willow/Tara storyline at this point (and sort of wish they had done more with the foundation they set up here, looking more at Willow’s boundary issues and really horrific behavior towards Tara rather than going down the slightly misguided magic-as-addiction rabbit hole) and yet I also can’t get enough of Spike thinking he’s “Randy” Giles. Might as well call him “Horny” Giles, or “Desperate for a Shag” Giles…
Waffles: I… mostly just agree with all of that. Especially the part about Willow’s issues. I wish the show had dealt more directly with her abusive and controlling tendencies (traits that are present throughout the whole show) instead of hiding behind the awkwardly executed addiction plot-line. That aside, obviously this is one of my favorite episodes and even if I wish the show dealt better with the issues it brings up, the episode itself is still a wonderful character episode for Willow and a hilarious ensemble piece.
11. The Weight of the World (5x21)
Waffles: Oh, look at that, Buffy’s had a complete mental breakdown. Oops.
Taf: An AMAZING mental breakdown. This is a great episode, and it highlights one of my favorite aspects of the show, which is that it’s not afraid to spend the time to really dig into its characters and let them process what they’re going through. A wonderful lead into a great season finale.
Waffles: Also a wonderful last episode really all about Buffy before the show was intended to end.