The Pantheon: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Hush)

The pinnacle of a show can be difficult to nail down, especially for a series that had as many high points as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I don't want a Pantheon entry to give the impression that "Hush" is the only episode worth watching; there are a ton of other ones that should be considered must-watch for any well-rounded television viewer. But if we're going to judge on a big list of criteria like how well an episode handled drama, wit, emotion, canonical storytelling, and pure entertainment, there's no question in my mind that "Hush" peeks out above the crowd.

"Hush" is the tenth episode of Season 4, and works mostly as a standalone episode, even as it also pushes the season arc forward a good bit in all of fifteen seconds. The setup is all about the characters having trouble communicating with each other, whether it's Anya's complaint that Xander only likes having her around for sex, or Tara's crippling shyness in front of... Well, everyone, but especially Willow. Buffy has a prophetic dream in which terrifying monsters known as "The Gentlemen" come to town. They arrive with the intention of ripping seven hearts out of victims, and are able to go on these periodic rampages by stealing every voice in the town.

This turns the majority episode into an almost silent one, save the score and incidental sounds (like breaking glass). Buffy must find a way to fight the new evil in town without being able to talk it over with anyone, a usual tactic of hers. Unbeknownst to her, Riley (the fledgling crush she can't bring herself to admit) is also trying to root out the Gentlemen with his secret paramilitary group.

There are terrifying scenes of the Gentlemen reaping their gory treasure, and of them and their minions pursuing people who are soundlessly shrieking in desperation. But there are also hilarious scenes, including one of Giles giving a music-backed overhead presentation to the group about how Buffy will have to go about defeating the monsters.

Despite the brilliance of a lot of Buffy episodes, "Hush" is the only one ever to receive an Emmy nomination (for writing), and it richly deserves it. By the end, the monsters are defeated, the voices are back, and all of the characters have learned that endless talking is not always the best way to get their feelings across. So enough chatter. Go watch it.


Post a Comment

Copyright © Slice of Lime