Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | May 14, 2012

Cordia’s Review: S4, E10 – Hush

Hush
Season 4, Episode 10
Original airing: 12/14/1999

My Rating: 91

The Good: Oh, so much good. I love the story of this episode. It’s really solid and greatly enhanced by the incredibly scary villains. I also love the character moments and the movement forward of the Buffy/Riley story. And I’m thrilled to see smiles on Willow’s face again.

I honestly think the Gentlemen are the scariest television villains ever. Everything about them adds to their eeriness; their looks, behaviors, and actions. The fact that they look like skeletons in suits is incredibly disturbing, especially because it forces them to have awful, giant grins. Their courtly manners are also pretty terrifying combined with their appearance. They bow to each other, knock on doors, and applaud their successes. They also move with a surprising amount of grace. It’s all very creepy. The worst is that they cut out people’s hearts and we don’t even know why. Very well done.

The lack of talking in this episode allowed for some excellent facial expressions and body language. You can feel the empathy and connection between the Scoobies, especially in the scene where Buffy and Willow first come to Giles’ house after the silence has begun. Willow’s frantic writing on her message board just to say “hi” really demonstrates the fear caused by their lack of ability to communicate.

I also really liked that the lack of speech took away the barriers between Riley and Buffy. He finally manned up a bit and kissed her! I also liked their mutual discovery that neither of them are as they present themselves. It’s nice to have this bit of the season story moving forward. Hopefully it means we, the audience, will finally get to learn a bit of what’s going on with the Initiative.

It led to the wonderful final scene, as well. The fact that Buffy and Riley don’t even know where to begin is a great contrast to when they couldn’t stop babbling at each other in the beginning of the episode.

And finally, I was happy to see Willow smiling again. She does seem to be making progress recovering from her breakup with Oz. Tara’s introduction is a nice way to encourage Willow as a person and in her witchcraft. Together, they manage to move a very large and heavy object. It’s a very real demonstration of the power Willow wants to explore. And now she has someone who also wants to explore it and thinks Willow is pretty cool. She tells Willow point blank “you are [special]”. It’s something Willow has been needing to hear for several episodes. So far this season, she’s had Oz, Giles, and Buffy tell her that witchcraft is too dangerous. She needed someone to point out that she also has the power to do it right.

The Bad: My only real complaints with this episode are a few touches of crass humor. I thought the masturbation joke in the classroom was silly and unrealistic. I think if Buffy was trying to mime staking someone, she would be stabbing out and away from herself and a lot less vigorously. I was also annoyed with Anya’s little penetration gesture after Xander “saves” her from Spike. I just thought both of these moments were unnecessary.

The only other thing that really bothers me in this episode is Spike. His existence in the show is really confusing right now. Last episode he gave away that he doesn’t know where to find the entrance to the Initiative. So it’s hard to understand why the gang feels he needs to be kept around. And, on top of that, he’s roaming free at Giles’ house and Giles even suggests he go out and pick up his own groceries. There really needs to be a conversation about the value Spike gives the group at this point. His behaviors in the past were pretty atrocious and it’s a wonder Buffy hasn’t staked him yet.

Favorite Moment: Willow proves her power to herself and Tara when they move a heavy vending machine together. I love this moment because it feels very important and emotional. When they join their hands and then both whip their heads around, I get a hitch in my breathing.

The Bottom Line: This is a really excellent episode. It does everything I like by providing a riveting story, wonderful character moments, and a touch or two towards the overall story arc.

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