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25 Of The Most Heartrending "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" Moments

Buffy’s seven seasons had more heartrending moments than stakes at a Slayers convention, but here are 25 of the most heart-ripping, sob-inducing, gasp-worthy moments. SPOILERS ABOUND, so proceed with caution.

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25. Buffy crowned Class Protector

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Even Mean Girl Harmony clapped as Jonathan (played by Emmy and Academy Award winner Danny Strong) presented Buffy with a parasol, showing Buffy her peers did appreciate her. (Season 3, Episode 20, “Prom”)

23. Angelus kills Jenny Calendar and leaves her body for Giles to find

Repeating the cruelty that drove a then-human Drusilla to madness, Angelus murders Jenny and leaves her body as the centerpiece of a “romantic” tableau for Giles. Giles goes all Ripper on Angelus, Buffy saving him before Angelus can also kill Giles. (Season 2, Episode 17, “Passion”)

22. Drusilla murders Kendra


Kendra, activated as Slayer the first time Buffy died, was a loyal and fierce friend of the Scoobies, but was no match for Dru’s paralyzing mind games and razor-sharp fingernails. (Season 2, Episode 21, "Becoming, Part 1")

21. Buffy killed by The Master in an alternate timeline

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The first appearance of Anyanka/Anya the Vengeance Demon, who grants Cordelia’s wish that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. Cordelia finds herself in a Sunnydale controlled by The Master, Xander and Willow as vampires, and every human rightly fearing for their lives. A Faithesque Buffy gets sent to Sunnydale to try and stop The Master, only to have him snap her neck and doom Sunnydale to the Hellmouth. Her slow-motion death is horrifying. Foreshadows Buffy’s statement that she could have been as lost as Faith if not for Giles, her mother, and her friends. (Season 3, Episode 9, “The Wish”)

20. Faith switches bodies with Buffy

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Faith awakes from her coma and uses some Mayor-contrived mojo to switch bodies with Buffy and escape prison. What starts out being a snarkfest and joke for Faith soon turns into a sincere desire to be a hero, and ends with Faith trying to kill her original body in self-hatred. Continues as a kickass arc on “Angel.” (Season 4, Episode 16, “Who Are You, Part 2”)

19. Willow’s Choice

Oz returns from his Tibetan retreat, and Willow becomes all confused about whether she loves Tara or Oz, and tells Tara she has to take time and figure things out (causing lesbians everywhere to give Willow a major case of the side-eyes). Poor Oz. Poor Tara. (Season 4, Episode 19, “New Moon Rising”)

18. Joyce Dies

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Buffy returns home and finds her mother dead. The rest is heartbreaking. Props to Joss for filming the episode without music. (Season 5, Episode 16, "The Body")

17. Anya and fruit juice

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Anya's heartbreaking response to Joyce's death. (Season 5, Episode 16, "The Body")

16. Zombie Joyce

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Feeling abandoned by Buffy and mourning her mother, Dawn successfully resurrects a probable Zombie Joyce, but stops the spell at the last nanosecond, just as Buffy throws open the door to greet Zombie Joyce with a hopeful, and desperate, "Mommy?" (Season 5, Episode 17, "Forever")

15. Glory mindscrambles Tara


The true beginning of Dark Willow. Pissed as only Glory can be after discovering Tara is not the Key, and enraged Tara won't narc on who is, Glory drives Tara insane, kicking open the door for Dark Willow. What happens in this episode is pivotal to the rest of Season 5 and all of Season 6. (Season 5, Episode 19, "Tough Love")

14. The hardest thing in this world is to live in it

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Buffy sacrifices herself to save Dawn, her friends, the World. The whole ending of this episode is sob-inducing and terrible, complete with Giles quietly and matter-of-factly killing Ben. (Season 5, Episode 22, "The Gift")

13. Buffy was in Heaven

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Buffy shocks Dawn and her friends by admitting they tore her from Heaven, not a Hell Dimension. Willow's reaction is priceless. (Season 6, Episode 7, "Once More, With Feeling")

12. Goodbye to You

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A cute and funny episode ends with a slap across the face, as Tara packs her things and leaves Willow after discovering Willow has AGAIN been casting memory spells on her. Giles leaves. Buffy and Spike get all intense. All done to Michelle Branch singing "Goodbye to You" at The Bronze. (Season 6, Episode 8, "Tabula Rasa")

11. Tara's Death

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Considered by many Buffy fans as THE most heart-rending moment of the entire series. The murder of the character many considered the moral compass of the show at the hands of a violent misogynist was sudden and senseless and shocking. "Your shirt." (Season 6, Episode 19, "Seeing Red")

10. Yellow Crayon

Dark Willow has flayed Warren quicker than the Bastard of Bolton, destroyed half of Sunnydale, and tried to kill Buffy, Giles, Anya, Andrew, and Jonathan, and has now decided to destroy the world to stop her pain from Tara's death. Nothing can stop her... except for Xander's love and a story about kindergarten, a yellow crayon, and Willow's kindness. Damn the onion ninjas! (Season 6, Episode 22, "Grave, Part 2")

9. Searing Cross

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Spike confesses to Buffy he has his soul back, his confession almost lost in his half-demented babbling of guilt and nonsense, and promises to service Buffy again to please her. He drapes himself in submission around a cross, flesh sizzling, pleading, "Can we rest now, Buffy?" A broken man. (Season 7, Episode 2, "Beneath You")

8. Cassie

Poor Cassie. She spreads wisdom and hope to everyone, to Dawn and Spike and Buffy, but her death teaches Buffy that even the Slayer cannot always cheat Death. Buffy tells Cassie even one person can make a difference, to which Cassie replies, "And you will," before literally dropping dead at Buffy's feet. Azure Skye is the best Buffy guest star ever. (Season 7, Episode 4, "Help")

7. Anya has a meltdown


Poor Anya. Jilted by Xander, almost killed by Buffy for vengeance demoning, and feeling remorseful for killing humans, she begs D'Hoffryn to kill her. Instead, he turns her human again and kills her BFF Halfrek instead, maximizing Anya's pain. Halfrek's cheery "Anya!" before the kill is heartbreaking. (Season 7, Episode 5, "Selfless")

6. The First mocks Tara


Cassie's spirit is back bringing messages from Tara to a still-fragile Willow... except it isn't Cassie, it's The First, trying to get Willow to off herself. When Willow calls The First on its lies, The First gets in a few snarky barbs, including one about lesbians and the Indigo Girls, proving The First is, indeed, a homophobe. Very creepy episode. (Season 7, Episode 7, "Conversations with Dead People")

5. Willow accepts Tara's death


Surprisingly Evil Amy the Rat throws a glamor on Willow, turning her into Warren after she and Kennedy kiss. Willow's guilt-laden meltdown and acceptance of Tara's death leads to another kiss from Kennedy and transformation back to Willow and a new confidence in her powers (although many viewers wish Warren-Willow had just shot Kennedy instead). (Season 7, Episode 13, "The Killer in Me")

4. Spike stakes his Mum


Poor Spike. All he wanted was his terminally-ill Mum to have eternal life, one they could share together in pursuit of culture and happiness. Instead, his post-sired Mum was a ragingly cruel bitch who heavily implied he wanted to shag her. William gave his Mum one last gift and staked her, the ghost of her true smile showing as death took her. Poor Spike. (Season 7, Episode 17, "Lies My Parents Told Me")

3. Buffy disowns Giles


Giles stalls Buffy while Principal Wood attempts to kill Spike. Instead, Spike kicks Wood's ass, only sparing his life because he killed Wood's Slayer mother. Betrayed by the man she considers her father, an enraged Buffy literally shuts Giles out of her life, but not before she tells him, "I think you've taught me everything I need to know." (Season 7, Episode 17, "Lies My Parents Told Me")

2. Anya Dies


Everyone's favorite Demon-Made-Human and oft the voice of reason, Anya was one of the few characters who could take Buffy on both physically and verbally. A brave death, and an upsetting one to Buffy fans. (Season 7, Episode 22, "Chosen")

1. I love you


Fulfilling Cassie's prophecy from "Help," Buffy tells Spike she loves him in the series finale just as he is about to die and save the world. In typical Spike fashion, he answers, "No you don't, but thanks for saying it." But we know she really meant it. (Season 7, Episode 22, "Chosen")

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