Top 10 Weirdest ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Episodes

On Monday, the world celebrated the tenth anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the pride and joy of supernatural enthusiasts (myself included). While I haven’t watched Buffy since they stopped showing re-runs of the series every day before school, I can’t seem to go a week without remembering one of the show’s unusual storylines. Everything I see brings back memories of this series somehow, like I’m caught in some sort of bad break-up, except Buffy can’t point out my commitment issues or storm out of the house when I play Taylor Swift too loudly. Some of the episodes I recall, not because they were particularly heart-warming, but because they were so incredibly odd, it would be hard to forget them.

1) Restless (4×22) – I’m not usually a fan of dream sequences because I think it’s a cheesy way to express a character’s true emotions but the dream episode of Buffy was more transfixing than a basket of hairless kittens (which just confuses my emotions beyond comprehension). When the group of friends falls asleep during a movie, the camera plunges into the characters’ heads and brings us all into a very weird dimension. From Buffy talking to her dead mom through a hole in the wall of her high school to Willow scrawling Greek symbols on her girlfriend’s back for no apparent reason, “Restless” transports the viewing audience into a glass case of emotion that makes me mentally claustrophobic.

Buffy's Mom Through Wall

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2) Once More, with Feeling (6×07) – What’s more unsettling than flicking on the TV to watch the regularly scheduled Buffy episode is finding a musical with all of the same characters in its place, only to realize that you are watching exactly what you wanted to see. In “Once More, with Feeling,” a demon places a curse on the residents of Sunnydale that forces them to spontaneously break out into song. (I don’t know about you but that sounds like the best demon curse I’ve ever heard.)

3) Who Are You (4×16) – No matter how much I try to like Eliza Dushku (she’s from MA so I feel like we have some sort of unspoken bond that we need to tap into), there’s something about her that makes me want to silence her vocal chords and there’s a good chance that feeling stemmed from her character, Faith, on Buffy. Faith, a slayer-turned-villain-turned-slayer, was an interesting character, to say the least. While she spent most of her time making poor decisions, Faith redeems herself through her impersonation of Buffy when her and the leading slayer switch bodies. This may be my fascination with Freaky Friday (2003) talking but I love these story arcs simply because I feel like a part of some inside joke with the characters, especially when I start saying, “Oh my god, that’s totally how Buffy would act” every five seconds.

4) The Wish (3×09) – With all the movies out there about wishing away someone’s existence and the consequences of such a decision, you would think that producers would stop trying to make this plot-line work but apparently, Buffy did not get the memo. And thank god it didn’t. Season three’s episode “The Wish” envisions what the world would be like without Buffy Summers, meaning, a world where Xander and Willow are very disturbing-looking vampires and Sunnydale is overrun with monsters.

5) Hush (4×10) – Before Joss Whedon was confusing audiences with his musical episode, he was captivating us by opting for the exact opposite extreme: total silence. In the episode “Hush,” a group of ghouls named “The Gentleman” strip everyone in Sunnydale of their voices. In the 44 minute episode, there is only 17 minutes of dialogue.


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6) Halloween (2×06) – Remember that time that you dressed up as an 80-year-old, promiscuous Wonderwoman? Now imagine if, once you put on the costume, you actually became that person? In the 1997 “Halloween” episode of Buffy, a shop owner begins selling costumes to kids that turn them into whatever character they’re portraying. I feel bad for all of the people dressed as bees and M&Ms…

7) Band Candy (3×06) – There’s a reason teenagers don’t rule the Earth and if anyone had any doubts about that, this episode of Buffy would be the first place to look. When the principal of Sunnydale High School starts handing out cursed band candy, the characters begin channeling their adolescent roots. I can handle Buffy becoming a bad driver (though I’m tempted to believe this was also a commentary on women’s driving skills), but when Giles and Joyce Summers started making out, that’s where I drew the line. This episode weirded me out, which is how it ended up on this list.

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  • Tonya Brown

    loveeeeeeeeeeeee this

  • Adrian Alexander

    Joyce isn’t dead in Restless. So Buffy isn’t talking to her dead mother so much as just her mother.

    • Tyler Vendetti

      I must have just been thinking too far ahead. Joyce’s death has always really stuck with me so maybe I just instinctively typed that in. :)

  • Jacob Shpiece

    Any list of weird Buffy episodes that doesn’t include the virgin eating praying mantis and the Doublemeat Palace monster is seriously flawed.

    • Tyler Vendetti

      I act

    • Tyler Vendetti

      I actually originally included Doublemeat Palace but replaced it with Restless. If I had more room I would have included them! Plus every other Buffy episode ever.

    • Elly Higginbottom

      Yes, Doublemeat Palace is a grand one for this list!

  • Bryn Keane-Farrell

    The Greek that Willow paints on Tara’s back is actually original poetry by Sappho, the bisexual Greek poet from the Isle of Lesbos (Whedon was really trying to emphasize their gayness).

    • Alexandra Coleman

      Wow – totally didn’t know that, thanks for the cool trivia :)

  • Tina Lynn

    I love Buffy, Have it alllll on DVD but agree some episodes are OUT THERE! haha Loved this!

  • Sarah Theissen

    Love this list, only missing one of my favourite episodes “The Body”. It’s heartbreaking and the total lack of music in this episodes makes it so real.

  • Steve Kleinberg

    One not listed: “Selfless.” Emma kills. lol.

  • Katie Pittman

    Replace “Who Are You” with “Lover’s Walk” and use “Dopplegangland” instead of “the Wish”. and you have listed all of my favorite episodes.

  • Pearl Griffin

    These are almost all my favorite episodes!

  • Elly Higginbottom

    I think “A New Man”, in which Giles is turned into a demon, is one of the more delightfully strange episodes that they aired. The highlight is when he sees Maggie Walsh and deliberately scares her. For me, the list of weirdest coincides with the list of most brilliant.

    • Rachael Klein

      I love that one! I really think that’s a testament to Anthony Stewart Head. It was SO funny, the physical comedy was great, but he’s such a talented actor that, even when he had lost the power of speech, and was going full demon, you felt sympathy for him. And the fact that Buffy knew it was him when she looked at his eyes! They’re a great pair :) And Spike driving him around!! Spike <3

  • Sarah Elizabeth Mason

    I have to admit that the weirdness of the show is what drew me in. Having said that, once Buffy got to college things just went from weird to, “What the hell was Whedon thinking?!” I couldn’t seem to bring myself to watch anymore. Plus I missed Willow and Oz being together. 😉

  • Aoife Kyle Munro

    Once More with Feeling is probably the best thing that ever happened to TV. Christ, I really want to watch that again.

  • Alexandra Coleman

    As a Buffy obsessor/pseudo-scholar, I have to note: Buffy’s mom wasn’t dead when ‘Restless’ aired, she didn’t die until Ep. 16 of Season 5 in “The Body.” But in the many speculations of “Restless,” we can kind of see Joyce personified as a mother who’s been pushed to the sidelines (or in her case, in the walls). She’s still a presence in Buffy’s life, but mainly a silent one and one Buffy doesn’t really regard anymore (especially in season 4). Also, I think we were all waiting for the sexual tension of Giles and Joyce to finally come to…fruition…har har. And in my opinion, “Normal Again” should be topping the list. It’s the only episode that I have legitimate uncomfortable feelings watching, but I also completely respect Whedon’s choice to lead us down that rabbit hole of Bob Newhart-y “what if this is all a dream?” insanity.

    • Sarah Elizabeth Mason

      Whoa! Alexandra, back to work! Those comic books aren’t gonna sell themselves!

  • Casey Bennett

    Yeah, not to nerd out, but, as several others have said, Joyce wasn’t dead yet in “Restless”. And, while it’s not exactly a “weird” episode, “The Body” in Season 5 is one of the greatest episodes of all time.
    I don’t remember the episode name, but I would also include the episode where there’s a bartender who serves students bad beer that turns them dumb. SMG’s performance in the ep, is hilarious.
    And, “Normal Again” is one of my favorite episodes, along w/”Hush” and “Once More With Feeling” (I sometimes find myself humming Xander’s and Anya’s song). So, good list.

    • Sarah Elizabeth Mason

      Well Tyler, I think the nerds are in agreement, and apparently you should hang for your crime against geekdom. She wasn’t dead yet! Thank you nerds, we get it. Take a puff from your inhalers and move on with your lives.

      • Caroline De Voecht

        you’re pretty rude, you know that? “Thank you nerds, we get it. Take a puff from your inhalers and move on with your lives” – “Whoa! Alexandra, back to work! Those comic books aren’t gonna sell themselves!” what is your problem? They just corrected something. Why do you take it so personally? Maybe you are the one who should take a puff and move on

      • Jennifer Andrews

        Somehow I suspect that you mean “nerd” and “Those comic books aren’t gonna sell themselves!” as insults, which is sad. Judging people for being honest about how much they like something is a game for highschoolers.

    • Penelope Dawn

      Beer Bad 😉

  • Annie Fox

    Hush was one of my FAVORITE episodes. The Body is worth a mention here too – it’s amazing how dark an episode can become without music.

  • Penelope Dawn

    Band Candy is one of my absolute favorites! Same with Normal Again. The Body is totally amazing. Conversations with Dead People comes to mind.

  • Serena Johnson

    “Normal Again” made me question my sanity, but i love it.

  • Paula M. Moncho Esteve

    I love this post! it reminded me of this awesome show that I haven’t watched since I was a teenager and made me realize how much I miss it!
    I totally agree, these episodes weirded me out! but could never stop watching! ^^
    Thank you for this, I loved loved loved it! now I’m planning a Buffy marathon in the next days…

  • Lynn David Recker

    “Normal Again” prompted me to write my one ‘fanfic’/rant concerning BtVS. It’s in the same vein as the show, questioning even Joss Whedon’s sanity.

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