Buffy: The Iconic Episodes That Slayed Us
Published: 25 June 2018
'Surprise' and 'Innocence' are two of Buffy's most iconic episodes, and as they go to air on ELEVEN, we reminisce why we love ‘em.
WARNING! If you’ve been living under a Sunnydale rock for the past 20 years, the below is one big spoiler, just slayin’.
Buffy lost her virginity
Buffy and Angel were attracted to each other like moths to a flame, and everyone was gagging for them to finally take their relationship to the next level. Who could forget their passionate love making? A beautiful first-time experience for any teenage vamp slayer. (Or regular teenager, even).
The momentous occasion officially marked the loss of Buffy’s innocence and her entry into adulthood, which she soon realised wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Buh-bow! Angel transformed into evil incarnate
In a shocking twist, Angel reverted back to his former evil self, Angelus, after losing his soul as a result of the couple’s moment of happiness. It seemed that true love between the pair just wasn’t meant to be.
In a series first, the Big Bad was someone the fans had grown to love. Not gonna lie, it was pretty hard to handle.
Buffy’s heartbreak high
We all know the story – boy charms girl, girl sleeps with boy, boy discards girl like the receipt for something he just bought that he can’t return. This is the subtext of ‘Innocence’. And it’s what Buffy experienced firsthand when Angel confirmed her worst fears – she was worried she’d done something wrong in the bedroom – and then dismissed her entirely
Witnessing Buffy grieve the loss of her first love made her such a relatable character. It unlocked a deeper, personal layer that the series hadn’t quite seen yet, and exposed monsters that were both real and emotional.
Willow also gets her heart broken
The theme of heartbreak and teen angst recurred throughout ‘Innocence’, and Willow also found herself in a vulnerable state when she caught her long-time crush Xander making out with snobby Cordelia. “You’d rather be with someone you hate than be with me”, she tearfully told him. And honestly, our opinion of him was pretty low at that point. Seriously, he was the treasurer of the “We hate Cordelia” club, what was he thinking?
Wanting to be desired by another human – don’t we all? – Willow asked Oz if he would make out with her. He declined. And we all realised neither of the girls would get their happy ending.
Ain't nothing gonna break Buffy's stride
Buffy dusted herself off the only way she knew how - by whooping arse. She did what any self-respecting girl-turned-Slayer would do after being screwed over by a vampire dude - she kicked his butt (also his crutch - yass!).
In another truly epic moment, she fired a rocket launcher straight at apocalypse demon The Judge’s noggin, after he ironically declared “No weapon forged can stop me”. Buffy was back saving the world from evil beings, and it was totally satisfying to watch.
Giles’ wise words
Nevertheless, arse-kicking doesn’t necessarily heal wounds and even after all that slaying, Buffy felt deep shame regarding Angel’s change of character.
In a truly touching scene, Giles showed his utmost support for her by pointing out that she’s not at fault for having sex with someone she loves. And everyone’s heart swelled with love for the incredible father-figure in Buffy’s life.
Don’t just take our word for it
Need some more convincing? Both ‘Surprise’ and ‘Innocence’ were the show’s most-watched episodes ever in its prime. Buffy creator Joss Whedon admitted they were both the most pivotal episodes in the entire series, due to their multifaceted approach to the dangers that lie in wait for high school students, whether they're fighting supernatural creatures or navigating their way through adulthood.