Buffy Ep 4.10 "Hush"

Whew! An Outstanding episode, on many levels. Undoubtedly the most surreal Buffy to date.  I have been told that it has been nominated for several awards. It was apparently written and Directed by Joss Whedon (supposedly the first episode he has actually personally directed.)
Which leads me to think that undiluted Joss Whedon can be pretty scary, because this right up there as one of the scariest Buffy Episode to date.

Buffy is in class, and Prof Walsh is talking about "communication".  She calls Buffy down to the front of the class, directs her to lie on the desk, then has Riley hold her.

Buffy: This feels very strange.
Riley: Don't worry. When I kiss you it'll make the sun go down.
They kiss, a kiss that becomes quite intense.  As they are kissing, we hear a wind blowing, and it gets darker.  They seperate.
Riley: See?
Buffy sits up, and sees that they are alone in the classroom.  (Dream Sequence Alert!)
Buffy: Fortune favours the brave.... do you hear that?
Faintly, you can hear a child chanting a rhyme

Can't even shout, can't even cry.
The gentlemen are coming by
Lookin' in windows,
knockin' on doors,
they need to take seven,
and they might take yours.

Buffy walks towards the child, and finds a girl (looks a LOT like a young buffy) holding an ornate wooden box...

Can't call to mum,
Can't say a word,
You're gonna die soon,
but you won't be heard...

Riley walks up behind her as the last lines are being spoken, and put his hand on her shoulder.  She turns ... and abruptly finds it's not Riley, it's some grinning corpse type guy...

She wakes up with a start.  She's dozed off in one of Prof Walsh's classes.  Both Willow and Riley have a go at her (in a gentle, amused way) for sleeping in class.

Willow goes off to her "Wicca Group" meeting.  Riley and Buffy meet after the class, and discussion turns to what they are doing tonight. They each give their excuses... and each spot a flaw in the other's excuse.  Their mutual covers stories are beginning to fray....

Buffy rings Giles about her dream... he's a bit doubtful, but agrees to look into it.  Spike is wandering around the kitchen... it looks like he's got freedom of the house.
Spike: You're out of Weetbix.
Giles: We are out of Weetbix because you ate them.  I thought vampires only drank blood.
Spike: I do.  I like to soak the Weetbix in it.  Gives it more texture.
Giles: Since the picture you have just painted means that I shall never eat Weetbix again...

Anya and Xander barge in.  Anya wants to know where their relationship is going.
Anya: ...All you care about is multiple orgasms.
Xander: Anya... you know how I've talked private conversations being more private if you don't talk about them in front of my friends?
Spike: I'm not your friend.  Go on.

Giles wants Spike to stay at Xander's place for a couple of days, as Giles has a friend arriving.
Anya: Is this an orgasm type friend?

The rather attractive black woman ... Olivia ... that Giles was spending some time with in Episode 4.1 is back in town.  It would appear that Giles is getting lucky!

Willow goes to her Wicca group, to find that they are quite dull and boring, but have no knowledge (or interest) in real magic.  Apart from one girl, painfully shy name of (Terra? Tara? couldn't quite make it out) who doesn't quite managed to get a word in edgeways...

Buffy reveals to Willow that Riley and she have not got beyond talking.  Apart from anything else, everytime she talks to him, she has to lie...(about Slayer stuff...)

During the night, the "Gentlemen" show up.  I found them genuinely creepy.  Just these cadaverous looking guys ... in pinstripe suits and bowler hats ... oh, and big scary silver teeth and they float several inches about the ground.  Dea refers to them as accountants.  Without exchanging a word, they nod at each other, and perform some kind of ritual.   All over town, little wisps of something are pulled out of peoples mouths and whisked away...

Riley and his offsider (name, someone?) go down the secret elevator to the Initiative base... but they can't activate their voice print!  Riley frantically tries to punch in override codes as the elevator commences lethal contermeasures... Somehow they manage to get out, and stumble into the lab.  Walsh just looks sardonic, and points to a sign: "In case of emergency, please use the stairs...."

Next day, it turns out that no-one can speak. Or whisper.  Or scream.  Buffy and Willow walk in silence to Giles place.  Xander leaps excitedly from the couch ... and then realizes that Buffy can't speak, and sits dejectedly back down on the couch.

There is a news report, stating that Sunnydale is under quarantine due to this "sudden and unexplained attack of laryngitis"....

Both Riley and Buffy end up on the streets, to help keep order.  Riley breaks up a fight.  One of the people he seperates picks up a club, and goes to attack him from behind... Buffy, casually, twists it out of his hand. (With a nasty crack.  It was just so smoothly done...) Buffy and Riley embrace.

That night, the "gentlemen" come out, drifting through the streets, accompanied by silent capering madmen in straight-jackets.  Visually... staggering. (Dea says that the Madmen must be the FAILED accountants...)

Olivia glances through the window, and spots one of them going by...

They find a student, pin him down, and cut his heart out.  Of course, he can't scream for help... (I found this quite a disturbing scene, actually...)

The next scene shows the gentlement with a collection of hearts in jars.

Next day, back at the dorm, Buffy finds the body. The security guard is having trouble keeping people out, because he has to do it all by sign language...

Back at Giles', Olivia is drawing a picture of what she has seen.  Giles spots it, and suddenly remembers something.  He dashes to the bookcase, and pulls out a book of Grimms fairy tales.

He gathers the gang together, and makes use of a lecture hall to brief them (using an overhead projector (with pictures). (I worry about some of Giles' pictures... particularly the ones with all the red texta...)

There is some lovely inuendo and mistaken hand guestures (particularly the mimed stakings...) Anyway, the upshot is that the Gentlemen are a group of demons that need human hearts to renew themselves.  "Swords can't kill them"  but "the princess screamed, and they ran away..."

The next night, Buffy and Riley are patrolling again. (Seperately) this time both of them are in full gear. They just happen to both spot movement in a clock tower ...

Spike has gone to the fridge, and is having a cup of blood.  (Pigs blood, we assume from previous episodes)  When he drinks it, he puts on his vamp face.  As he goes back to sit down, he knocks something over, and bends to pick it up.  Anya is sleeping on the couch.   Then Xander comes in. Spike looks up... and Xander sees Spike, vamp face, blood around his mouth, standing over Anya.  He flys over the couch and starts beating up Spike! Anya wakes up, and is very impressed.  (Spike isn't!) The apologetic shrugs, and Spike's disgusted look, are well worth seeing... Anya and Xander disappear off into another room. The look on Giles' face is well worth seeing, too!

Tara has decided to go to Willow.  She is chased through  the dorm by the gentlemen, and hammers on doors to try and get some help.  A door opened ... by one of the Gentlmen, his hands covered with blood.... Willow comes out from of her room to see what the fuss is about, and they both run for it.

The long and the short is they get trapped in the laundry room. They try and move a vending machine to barricade the door, but they aren't strong enough.  Worse, Willow manages to sprain her ankle in the process.  Desperately, she tries to use her magic to move it, but she's still not strong enough.  Tara comes over, they join hands ... and the Vending machine gets slammed against the door.

Riley and Buffy end up fighting side by side against the Gentlemen (or more accurately, their madmen)  There is a lovely scene when they first come face to face ... and crossbow to stungun... but the long and the short is that they fight their way up to the top.  (Riley gets a chance to see how strong Buffy is, and looks pretty surprised...)

Buffy is getting the worst of it, when she sees the box on the table.  The same box she saw in her dream! It is surrounded by jars of hearts... By fairly frantic eyebrow wiggling, she manages to get Riley to smash it.  (Well, on the second attempt ... charades while in mortal combat being easier said than done.)

Everyones voice comes back, Buffy screams, and the gentlemen's heads explode! (Urrgh!)

Tara explains to Willow that she was coming to her because she recognized her as a witch, and thought they might be able to work together to lift hte spell of silence.  Tara has been doing witchcraft for ages.  Learned it from her mother.  She says that Willow is actually quite a powerful witch... something that Willow seems to have trouble accepting.
Willow: I'm definitely nothing special...
Tara: No, you are...

Olivia and Giles have a talk.  Olivia has abruptly realised that all the stories that Giles has told her are actually true!
Olivia: I thought you were just being pretentious.
Giles: Oh, I was.  I was also being factual. Well, most of the time.  I wasn't really one of the original members of Pink Floyd....

Buffy and Riley realise they have to talk... and the scene ends with them staring at each other, not knowing where to start, and not saying a word...

End of Synopsis.

Quite an episode. Mucho humour ... many laugh-out-loud occasions. (Mostly visual, for obvious reasons.  Especially Buffy trying to suggest a staking...)

Some interest plot development... like where does Tara fit in? She's clearly a witch, she probably possesses a lot of practical knowlege that Willow needs.  She also clearly has something of a crush on Willow ... and we get strong hints from way back in Doppelgangland that Willow might just be a little inclined that way.

Quote from Doppelgangland:
Willow: It's horrible. That's me as a vampire! So evil...and skanky...I think I'm kinda gay...
Buffy: Willow, just remember... a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was.
Angel: Well, actually... (pause, thinks better of it) ... that's a good point.

Will their relationship develop that way? It would be a new direction ... and I just love plot elements that have been foreshadowed seasons in advance...

Giles, at least, appears to have developed a certain tolerance for Spike.  At the very least he lets him wander around the house.  I'm really curious to see how Spike will develop.  He still gets some really good lines.  So does Anya....

A really good ep.  Also a really scary ep.  I found myself more creeped out than any other ep I have seen to date.  The surreal visuals of the Gentlemen gliding along flanked by their capering madmen ... I worry a lot about Joss Whedon's mind!!!

Robbie Rating:  I think I'm going to have to break down and give this a 10.0.  (Which will do some unpleasant things to my rating system if Season 4 gets any better...)

Stephanie Rating:  Scary.  Real scary.  Stephanie insisted on watching it, and spent an awful lot of time hiding behind the lounge... use your judgement here, but I wouldn't recommend it if said child is inclined to nightmares.  Make sure you watch it with them.

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