Buffy 4×10: Hush

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Joss Whedon | Director: Joss Whedon | Aired: 12/14/1999]

This is, without any doubt, the best MOTW (monster of the week) stand-alone BtVS episode in the series, and is a great introduction for people who aren’t interested in the series because it represents a large part of what makes BtVS so great and does it without the viewer needing any backstory. “Hush” is technically comprised of a ‘gimmick:’ everyone in Sunnydale loses their voice. If nearly any other show used a device like this, I can guarantee you it would be played completely for not-funny laughs and we’d learn nothing new about any of the characters. On this series we instead get the opposite and everything is actually done right. Whedon makes full use of the unique situation the characters are in to keep their development moving.

This ‘gimmick’ is used to move characters into new places. All of this development is subtly wrapped in a package that’s creepy, funny, involving, and just plain entertaining. Those are all things BtVS is on an episode-to-episode basis (well, except for the creepy part), but Whedon manages to do all of it without his trademark dialog. So I’d argue this episode is not a gimmick, as that term is generally used in the derogatory sense. “Hush” is the first in what is an extremely accomplished list of episodes which use various “unique situations” as a way to continue the story of these characters. These episodes include: “Restless” [4×22] (4×22, done entirely in dream sequences), “The Body” [5×16] (5×16, no music, incidental or otherwise), “Once More, with Feeling” [6×07] (6×07, the musical), and “Conversations with Dead People” [7×07] (7×07, none of the main characters speak to or see each other).

This episode has a very clear theme, which Professor Walsh explains at the very beginning. She says, “Talking about communication, talking about language…not the same thing. It’s about inspiration…Not the idea, but the moment before the idea when it’s total. When it blossoms in your mind and connects to everything. It’s about the thoughts and experiences that we don’t have a word for.” Shortly after this, Buffy almost lets Riley kiss her but interrupts him with a meaningless question. We’re already seeing Walsh’s words ring true. These two are certainly using language (a.k.a. babbling) with each other, but they’re not communicating their true feelings — words and nerves keep getting in the way. When their ability to babble disappears, real communication finally appears. This is the moment when they finally kiss.

Buffy and Riley aren’t the only ones afflicted by the deficiencies of language. Anya says to Xander, “You don’t care about what I think. You don’t ask about my day … What do I mean to you?” Xander’s reponse is simply, “I… we, you know we spend… we’ll talk about it later.” This isn’t Xander’s fault, though, as Anya’s been equally misleading. Their relationship was initiated by an aggresive Anya who thought that sex with him would get him out of her thoughts, but that didn’t work. She’s continued to grown attached to him and he’s just kind of gone along with it. Later in the episode, when they can’t speak to each other, Xander is able to communicate what Anya means to him without saying a word. He thinks Spike bit her so he punches the crap out of him. Once Xander realises that she’s okay, he kisses her with relief and Anya looks very happy to get a confirmation that Xander does actually have real feelings for her. Their relationship is finally beginning to move beyond just sex.

Early on in the episode we see Willow at that wicca group she said she wanted to check out back in “Wild at Heart” [4×06] . It turns out that none of these girls seem to have any real power, and that the group only chants together and has bake sales. This scene is also the introduction of Tara, the girl who looks like she actually knows something about spells but gets ridiculed by the rest of the group. Willow is let down by this group because they have no power, and that bores her. Willow is hungry for more power right now, although it hasn’t reached the point of obsession or addiction yet (that happens in S6). This has been a theme we’ve seen being hit on really strong ever since “Doppelgangland” [3×16] . It’s popped up in significant ways this season before this episode with “Wild at Heart” [4×06] and “Something Blue” [4×09] .

We find out that Tara really does have some power later on. She and Willow put their hands together and connect on a magical level in a very cool, well-shot scene. This event is the catalyst for more exploration of magic, which Willow has been looking for. It’s interesting to note that Tara’s personality reminds me a whole lot of Willow back in S1. This is why Willow will be the dominant figure in their relationship. At the end of this episode Tara’s adoration of Willow’s power and confidence in herself is already being shown. It also displays just how much Willow has grown since the beginning of the series. That growth has been very gradual as well, so you don’t really notice the overall change until a character like Tara comes into the picture to remind you what Willow used to be like.

There’s a few scenes that are really subtle and display just how well Whedon does characters. I just absolutely love how, even though no one can speak through a large portion of the episode, it is completely clear what everyone is trying to say to each other. Most television shows don’t have writing good enough to fully accomplish the same thing even when their characters are speaking. A subtle example of this episode at its best is when Buffy and Willow enter Giles’ place. He puts his hand on Buffy’s shoulder with a very warm smile while Willow’s writing frantically on a white board. It turns out the urgent thing Willow needed to say was simply, “Hi Giles.” He then gives her some comforting glances as well. Just by watching these subtle gestures and expressions it’s not too difficult to see that Giles is very much a father figure for Buffy, and to a lesser extent, the entire group.

For once the plot of a BtVS motw stand-alone is actually really good. The Gentlemen float into town and manage to creep everyone, including myself, out. The scene which best describes how creepy these guys are is the one that apparently came out of Whedon’s own dreams. You wake up and are essentially tied to your bed, forced to look up as these very tall ghoul-like monsters with metal teeth float over to your bed holding a knife and wearing a giant grin. You can’t even scream while they cut into you and rip your heart out while being polite to each other and continuously grinning. Wow, that’s a chilling sight. I also love the scene where Olivia pulls the curtains back at night over at Giles’ place and that one Gentleman floats right by the window. Very cool.

I’ve also got to give props to the wondefully haunting music. It’s so good that they even reused some of the themes for when Faith awakes from her coma in “This Year’s Girl” [4×15] , and a couple other times as well. While giving away all these props, I’d better mention the utterly brilliant overhead scene in the classroom. Instead of getting bored by the exposition needed on the Gentlemen, I find myself hysterical. There’s Giles’ upside-down placement of the first slide. Giles playing a cassette of Camille Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre during the presentation. Anya’s indifference to the entire affair. Xander’s thoughts being stuck completely in sex, which causes everyone to think that way as Buffy makes a staking gesture. Buffy’s protest of Giles’ drawing of her. The fact that I easily understand all this exposition without a word being spoken. Plus more. You guys know why this scene is great, I need not go on further.

To wrap this review up I’d like to go back to Buffy and Riley. In the middle of the big fight Buffy discovers Riley is one of the commandos that they’ve been trying to find out more about since the beginning of the season. Riley also discovers something possibly even more shocking. The tiny, quirky, and blond girl he’s persuing a relationship with turns out to be much stronger than him. I love Riley’s wide-eyed ‘WTF’ face when he sees Buffy kick one of the henchman guys across the room. All he knows is that there’s something huge she’s been keeping secret from him as well. The episode ends on their ‘conversation’ about who each of them are. Now that things are revealed, no one can say anything. I’d also like to point out how happy I am that this conversation is continued directly in the following episode. “Hush” is perfect in all the ways that matter, and is an absolute joy to watch each and every time.


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Creepy ryhme from the little girl in Buffy’s prophectic dream.
+ Willow playing with Buffy, telling her that she missed the entire study review session while sleeping.
+ Spike making fun of Xander when tied to a chair in his room.
+ Cool special effects used for stealing peoples’ voices.
+ Just seeing Buffy do a mundane thing like brushing her teeth.
+ Xander blaming Spike for his voice loss, calling Buffy, then getting ridiculed by Spike again for his stupidity.
+ Forrest writing “Come on! Come on!” to Riley on the notepad when trapped in the elevator.
+ Men running into the liquor store the morning after the voice loss.
+ The Gentlemen’s movement and creepy Nosferatu-like hand gestures.
+ Riley being all Captain Can-Do thinking that he broke the correct object.
+ Buffy’s scream and subsequent explodey heads.
+ Olivia obviously not being able to handle what she saw. She never returns again.
+ The people out in the street act really weird. Some of them just walk around aimlessly. What’s that about?




73 thoughts on “Buffy 4×10: Hush”

  1. [Note: Nix posted this comment on October 29, 2007.]

    The people walking aimlessly in the street are presumably in shock. People act, well, weird in that sort of situation. I’m not sure about the crashed car and long-unfixed hydrant, but I guess, like the fires in barrels, it’s just Something That Happens when things go wrong.

    (The other in-the-street things are perfect, from the roaring trade in booze to the millenarians with their, um, silent Bible reading.)


  2. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on November 5, 2007.]

    Wow, amazing review. You managed to say everything I feel and love about this episode. Just one more thing, I think that from now on, Riley is gonna be uncomfortable with Buffy because of her strenght and leadership, even though he doesn´t say anything.


  3. [Note: Nix posted this comment on January 29, 2008.]

    I suspect there might be *two* prophetic elements in that prophetic dream, btw. The primary element is obvious: the Gentlemen. However, Maggie Walsh tells Riley ‘Be a good boy’, which feels rather out of place even for a dream. Now this may just be a conversational mannerism that Walsh comes out with frequently (she doesn’t have many lines so we can’t be sure), but the only time Walsh *ever* says this on air is in _Primeval_, to a chip-immobilized Riley, shortly before all hell lets loose. This *may* be a subtle forward-reference… (then again it may not. I know I’m apt to find subtext, symbolism, and references even where they aren’t intended.)


  4. [Note: Kyarorin posted this comment on March 22, 2008.]

    One thing I have to comment on is Giles’ drawings. They start out cartoonish, but end up hilariously creepy. The ones in season 7 are even better in this respect. What makes me enjoy them even more is that Giles is doing that deliberately, because he’s proven that he can draw in The Initiative.


  5. [Note: Jvamp posted this comment on June 17, 2008.]

    I was very pumped to watch this episode, and as expected it paid off and became one of the few 10/10 episodes I’ve seen. I was just thinking at the end as Buffy and Riley sat down together it would be perfect to end it there – and they did. A stellar episode.


  6. [Note: Devilscar666 posted this comment on June 26, 2008.]

    This was one of the scariest episodes of Buffy for me.
    The first time i watched it i ended up having nightmares for ages afterwards!
    The Gentlemen and just plain terrifying! They really are fairytale creatures gone wrong!

    I also love the part with Giles’s drawings and it always makes me laugh!
    I agree with Kyarorin about his drawings in Season 7 as well.
    They relate very well!
    The way in Hush the group are kinda disturbed by how graphic the drawings are, but they can’t say.
    And then later on with his other drawings, Dawn finally is able to voice it with a very well put ‘Holy crap!’

    But my favourite part of this episode is the introduction to Tara.
    The scenes with her and Willow are just so amazingly done, and it’s really not hard to tell that they won’t stay just friends for long.
    The scene where they joined their powers and moved that vending machine(?)was just….fantastic.
    Words really weren’t needed.
    Infact i think they would have ruined it! lol

    But i have to say i love you reviews, Mike! They are brilliantly done, you really are a true Buffy fan. Only someone very passionate about it could find all that amazing stuff in the episodes that most regular views wouldn’t have seen.


  7. [Note: Tony posted this comment on July 9, 2008.]

    The little song sung by the little girl at the beginning reminds me so much of the song sung by the girls in A Nightmare On Elm Street. This really is an amazing episode. I love Spike’s face when he is taken down by Xander, hilarious.


  8. [Note: Paula posted this comment on July 31, 2008.]

    It’s surprising how uncreepy I find this episode, given that I’m nearly allergic to horror. But I certainly agree it’s a good one.

    One problem, though: I know Kristine Sutherland was largely unavailable when they filmed this season because she was abroad or something, but I still find it a bit much that Buffy didn’t go check on her mother during a crisis like this.


  9. [Note: Jaden posted this comment on August 25, 2008.]

    One two freddys coming for you
    Three four knocking at your door
    Five six grap you crucifix
    Seven eight gonna stay up late
    Nine ten never sleep again

    I don’t know why but i had to type that!


  10. [Note: posted this comment on December 23, 2008.]

    One thing that bugs me occasionally about Whedon’s writing style and especially this episode is precisely the focus on character moments , and then of a specific sort, you seem to enjoy so much. What exactly the problem is, can be a bit hard to explain, but I’ll try. The theme of Hush is communication: Xander and Anya, Willow and Tara, Buffy and Riley etc. but I found the theme overused. This might sound silly, but there’s a definite lack of realism for everyone’s issues to be resolved by means of the episode’s gimmick. It resembles convenient plotting, except for characters.
    Worse I think is that Whedon kidnaps the ability of other writers to do something interesting. i.e. all the characters have to be at the right place so he can all get them to neatly move on, as if orchestrated by a higher power. The writer’s hand is too visible here, which was never what BtVS was about, they’re real people, not puppets.


  11. [Note: CWGN posted this comment on December 23, 2008.]

    ~~I seem to have forgotten to put my name at the comment.

    Also, to add, other episodes were I think it’s especially noticable are Once More With Feeling and AtS-Waiting in the Wings, though I’m not going to explain them here. 🙂


  12. [Note: Selene posted this comment on July 21, 2009.]

    By far the creepiest episode so far. There was something about the Gentlemen that just made my skin crawl!

    It was such a sweet moment when Willow wrote the “Hi Giles” on her dry erase board and he gave her the reassuring hug.

    Loved Giles’ drawings and Buffy’s reaction to his drawing of her.

    A nice introduction to the relationship between Willow and Tara.

    All in all, a terrific episode.


  13. [Note: Blue Fan posted this comment on August 19, 2009.]

    My favourite episode of the entire series. I find Hush to be one of those individual episodes that represents all the good things of the series. Starting with the prophetic dream and finishing in a scene where the main characters must talk to each other but don’t find the words, this one is one of the best episodes ever done. The critical comments about S4 aren’t justified at all.
    Thanks a lot for your reviews.


  14. [Note: Blue Fan posted this comment on November 24, 2009.]

    I think I’ve just found another piece of foreshadowing, but maybe I’m stretching too much.

    In Buffy’s dream, Riley says when he is about to kiss her, something like “If I kiss you, the sun will go down”. Buffy is accepts the kiss, and the sun in fact goes down.

    Could this be a prophetic element about their relationship?

    Please notice that sunset and sunrise are used many times at the end of S5 and the beginning of S6 as some kind of metaphors about crisis in life.

    The sun going down as a consecuence of their kiss could mean that their relationship will be difficult.


  15. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on January 25, 2010.]

    Everyone has already mentioned why this is a great episode, not a 100 in my opinion.

    So I will say what was wrong with it instead:

    Everyone in the dorm and the town turns depressed far too quickly.

    The car crashed into the fire hydrant.

    The two men trying to fight each other.

    Tara running from the Gentlemen and using up screen time trying to get inside a dorm room.

    Tara running into Willow at the perfect time and Willow having to limp.

    Still great but those things just bug me in what could have been a better episode with creepy villains and no speech.


  16. [Note: eugene posted this comment on May 27, 2010.]

    When Ms. Walsh is monitoring what is happening on a TV screen in the Initiative headquarters the voice of Stephen Hawkings is explaing what is happening.


  17. [Note: Enea posted this comment on August 14, 2010.]

    Every time I watch Hush I’m afraid I’ll say something out loud and ruin the perfect, creepy, powerful mood created by the sheer silence.

    The unique thing about Hsuh is that it’s the only episode that truly creeps me out. I mean, there are a lot of heart-wrenching, funny, ment-to-be-scary scenes and eps throughout the series, but this one is the only one that chills me to the bone. And I’m pracically immune to screen horror.

    Hush is definitely on my Top 5 list. I love it!


  18. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on September 2, 2010.]

    This is my main comment for this episode.


    Giles: “It could just be the eternal mystery that is your brain.”

    The Gentlemen are the creepiest villains yet. And so polite.

    The exposition scene of Giles’.

    Riley’s face as he slo-mo smashes the thing he thinks Buffy wants smashed, only not.


    People crying. Without a voice there shouldn’t be sound, yet there is.

    The entire town falls apart in a couple of hours. That’s a really, really depressed town.

    The car is crashed into a fire hydrant. How? Why? How? Three excellent questions.

    Pedestrians standing and walking the streets like zombies. C’mon, Joss! Don’t put in on that thick.

    Tara not really attempting to get away from the Gentlemen and injuring Willow.


  19. [Note: Jay posted this comment on September 23, 2010.]

    Fantastic review as usual, I love your insight into each review.

    I do have one question, who is the girl in Buffy’s dream who sings that creepy song? Is she a victim of the gentlemen or even a former slayer? Does anyone have any idea?

    I saw this episode today and it’s been really bugging me, any help or insight would be appreciated 🙂


  20. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on October 29, 2010.]

    Terrific review, terrific episode. OK maybe I got the order wrong there 🙂 but kudos to both Mike and Joss.

    I have nothing to add to Mike’s thematic/character analysis. However, it’s worth pointing out that the direction was top-notch. The cuts between fleeing Tara/Willow and fighting Buffy/Riley (at first apart, then together) were really well done.

    And some very very funny bits. Mike is certainly right about the classroom scene. Giles’s silly drawings, his pompous delivery as Overhead Master, Buffy pantomiming how she was going to “stake” the baddies :-), Xander mouthing “boobies?” when Willow points to her heart, Buffy’s mock outrage that Giles’s picture shows her hips as being wide, Anya’s mix of boredom, disdain, and faint amusement. Terrific! Also enjoyed Spike’s look of complete disgust when Anya gave the love look (alright, the lust gesture) as a thank you to Xander after Xander nobly came to Anya’s defense.

    The show is on a roll right now. The introduction of Spike and Anya as ongoing characters has given a fresh jolt to the proceedings, in particular perking up the humor. Pangs, Something Blue, and Hush have gotta be the three funniest consecutive episodes so far. By a long shot.


  21. [Note: Afterthebattle posted this comment on March 31, 2011.]

    “If I kiss you, it’ll make the sun go down.”

    I’m not really sure how to interpret this quote. Does Riley mean when I kiss you you’ll go deeper into your subconscious? Or does he foreshadow how their relationship is doomed? It also reminds me of Spike and Buffy’s destructive relationship in season 6 which starts with a kiss and then everything goes downhill from there.


  22. [Note: Blue Fan posted this comment on May 2, 2011.]

    To Afterthebattle:

    please, if you read my comment (#17) you’ll see I also notice the same line and I give it the same meaning yuo do. Since sunrises and sunsets are used at the end of season 5 and the beginning of season as a metaphor of crisis in life, yes, I completely thnik that here it’s a symbol of their future development as a couple. It’s algo importante to remember that, not only Buffy’s dream aren’t like other people’s, but also they tend to have more than one foreshadowing element (the dream at the end of season 3 proves this).


  23. [Note: baunger1 posted this comment on May 14, 2011.]

    I’ve been puzzling about the kiss you/sun go down line. I do think it can be read as foreshadowing that Buffy’s and Riley’s relationship is doomed, but in a very specific way. I think the line makes reference to Buffy’s most significant relationships — Angel, in the past, and foreshadowing her relationship with Spike, in the future. Her romantic life is lived after the sun goes down, in the dark, with vampires. And that’s the main reason her relationship with Riley will never work.


  24. [Note: mrpointy posted this comment on October 11, 2011.]

    Hello everyone! I was just browsing through the comments, and I’ve read that some people didn’t like the fact that the whole town got depressed far too quickly and that they were roaming around like zombies. IMO that makes absolute perfect sense. How would you react? Speaking is our primary form of communication. Without that, we enter chaos. I would be freaking out too. They’re in shock, in a daze. People crash into the fire hydrants because their minds are going in everywhich direction. When people lose something as valuable as their speech, it’s only natural for people to panic.

    But anywho, nothing much more to add other than this was a brilliant piece of television. Period.


  25. [Note: Alex posted this comment on October 12, 2011.]

    I agree mrpointy. It’s not just the fact that they’ve lost their own speech, it’s the fact that everyone else is dumb too. They can’t speak [i]or[/i] be spoken to. It makes complete sense to me that people would really panic in that situation and start feeling very isolated. Remember these people don’t have a clue what’s going on, and have no idea if they’ll ever get their voices back. The Scoobies can guess that it’s something demonic, so they’re able to say (well, write) ‘how do I get my voice back’? But the other townspeople are completely clueless.

    I also love that there are always one or two folk who will totally take advantage of any situation to make money!


  26. [Note: mrpointy posted this comment on October 12, 2011.]

    Haha, right Alex. The apocalypse could be happening, and yet you’d still see people on the street. “Buy a souvenir, so just in case you survive, you can tell your new alien friends,” or some crazy stuff like that.

    I also agree about noone knows when or if they’ll get their voices back. The Scoobies know it’s supernatural, and they have a plan. Regular joes like you and I will think wow, what if we are permanately like this? Hence, chaos.


  27. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on November 2, 2011.]

    More cons to my list.

    -The article in the paper says ’15 year old girl murdered, heart missing'(along that line). The article is actually about a 17-year old who had a near death experience at a mall.

    -Olivia gulps air with sound when the Gentlemen pass by the window.

    Sure people would be scared and not understand what is happening, but they wouldn’t walk the streets at a snails pace. Most would be at home frightened. Some would do the slow walk. The scene would make sense if it was a week later but not less than 24 hours.

    Okay, I’ll add another pro.

    -Tara is introduced.

    -It’s still better than ‘Doomed’.


  28. [Note: Odon posted this comment on December 29, 2011.]

    Regarding Buffy’s dream, I assume given that the blonde girl singing about the Gentlemen is meant to be a younger Buffy, and that making the sun go down is romantic – e.g. they’re so wrapped up in their kiss they don’t notice all that time has passed. Or course there’s likely a metaphor in there somewhere as well.


  29. [Note: Really? posted this comment on March 28, 2012.]

    I would just like to say that this episode was amazing. I didn’t remember anything from season 4 being THIS good. I’m thoroughly impressed.

    I don’t always agree with your reviews, but I was happily suprised to see this earned a perfect score. It’s well deserved.


  30. [Note: TheShanshuProphecy posted this comment on October 23, 2012.]

    Agree with (almost) everyone that this is a spectacular episode. I still enjoyed watching it even though it was about my 15th time.One problem – I can’t stand the stupid Gentlemen’s henchman in the asylum costumes – they cheapen the entire visual aspect of the scenes that show the Gentleman floating around – I don’t know why they felt the need to add to what were already extremely creepy MOTW.


  31. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on October 23, 2012.]

    Foreshadowing Glory?More seriously, I don’t know why, but I really felt like they made the Gentlemen even creepier somehow. Maybe a connection between ripping out hearts and messing up brains? Maybe mainstream society doesn’t like to pay attention to people whose brains are sick instead of the rest of their bodies (except to insult them)? Maybe a comparison to Angelus wanting to keep some victims alive and suffering psychologically for a long time (Scoobies), even brainwashing them (Drusilla), in addition to any outright murders?


  32. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on October 23, 2012.]

    I like the contrast they provide. The capering henchmen and the graceful Gentlemen. It’s like some kind of twisted ballet.


  33. [Note: TheShanshuProphecy posted this comment on October 23, 2012.]

    Ryan & IguanaNicely put.I guess for me they just look unconvincing & hokey – love the ‘twisted ballet’ description, I just don’t see it. Thanks for the responses – I always assumed nobody liked them – now I know better 🙂


  34. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 26, 2012.]

    Excellent episode. The scene in the classroom in my favorite. I love Anya munching on the popcorn, not caring. I also wondered when Tara noticed that she couldn’t talk. It seemed like when she was walking through the lounge or whatever she didn’t really know what was going on because no one talks to her and she doesn’t talk. The only weak point of the episode was Buffy’s scream. She’s never been a spectacular screamer though. But it needed more punch than a loud flat ahhhhhhhhhhh…. she needs Cordelia’s scream coach.Imagine how different this episode would be if it took place today. Xander would text Buffy instead of call on the landline. The Town of Sunnydale twitter would be giving steady updates. It just wouldn’t be the same I don’t think.


  35. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on March 1, 2013.]

    One of my favorite episodes as well, it’s like a very elaborate choreography that flows and is deeply intense. It’s an episode where you can’t use the fast forward because each moment is significant and the body/face expressions are priceless.

    Just one note about your review: “It turns out the urgent thing Willow needed to say was simply, “Hi Giles.” He then gives her some comforting glances as well. Just by watching these subtle gestures and expressions it’s not too difficult to see that Giles is very much a father figure for Buffy, and to a lesser extent, the entire group.”

    I agree that Giles is a father figure for the group – Xander and Willow having oblivious parents – but I read it a bit differently. At this time, Willow is in need of much attention. As per usual, the attention is first and foremost given to Buffy, so she “shouts”, hey, I’m also here, I exist and I want my warm smile and hand on my shoulder too !

    Anyway, a great episode and a review on par with the episode, thanks Joss and MikeJer ;).


  36. [Note: sigmuphi posted this comment on March 2, 2013.]

    I do like this episode. I particularly appreciate the trope of the wordless glances between couples: the prolonged almost-kiss between Buffy and Riley before words intervene, the real first kiss on the street, Anya’s reaction to Xander’s attempt at heroics on her behalf, and most especially, the look between Willow and Tara as the magic flows between them. Interestingly, Giles and Olivia do *not* share such a moment.

    What bothers me about this episode stems from having spent time within the Deaf community. The lack of a voice does not mean the end of communication. Summer (#41) is right, in today’s world of texting and Twitter, we all know that. But even 15 years ago, I remember the end of a (captioned) J-Lo movie on the campus of a Deaf university — no applause, of course, and everyone immediately hauled out their pagers or phones and starting texting all their friends about what they were going to do the rest of the evening.

    So on Sunnydale’s university campus, there’s *no one* who knows how to sign? No one thinks to get an ASL dictionary? No one has experience with lip reading (which works gratifyingly well during Willow’s and Buffy’s first hushed interaction)? No one has had theater or improv experience with Visual Gestural Communication?

    I know, that would mess up the “gimmick”. But it makes the whole conceit of the show uncomfortable for me, because it denies the everyday reality of so many people.


  37. [Note: Craig posted this comment on May 9, 2013.]

    I like this episode, but I find it to be probably the most overrated of all of Whedon’s episodes (with the possible exception of “Smile Time”). For one, I find the lack of realism in exploring how the world would react to this situation to be a huge missed opportunity. Part of me wishes this could have been a two-parter so we could have spent some more time simply living in this terrifying world.

    Criticism #2: The Gentlemen are plenty creepy, but they simply aren’t that *threatening*. They are only going to kill a maximum of seven people, and by the time the Scoobies are actually involved in the Gentlemen’s “harvest” they already have like five of those. And the fact that the Gentlemen have no reason to target the Scoobies over any other random citizen just deflates the sense of danger. Plus they’re just so very easy to run away from.

    Criticism #3: This is a problem I have with a lot of Buffy episodes: (“Halloween” is a particularly egregious offender, but it seemed to be an especially bad problem in season 4, as “Fear, Itself,” “Something Blue,” and “Hush” are all otherwise very good episodes that suffer from this) the incredibly rapid and anticlimactic way that the villains are defeated and the conflict is resolved just feels awkward. The Gentlemen’s plan is just way too easy to foil. The whole clock tower scene is rushed and not nearly scary enough.

    By the way, I know this is irrelevant to “Hush,” but I would like to say that the fear demon gag from “Fear, Itself” isn’t the problem I have with that episode. In fact, the gag does work for me, even if it’s a little forced (Buffy’s “I do *not* want to fight that” makes me cringe because it’s too clearly only there to make the punchline land). That isn’t the thing that I find weak about the episode’s resolution. Instead, it’s the fact that they all just randomly end up in his room and no longer under the effect of his magic, which makes the terrors they were experiencing much less terrifying. And while that episode was something of a sendup of hokey horror movies and was at times intentionally goofy I think that if the characters were separated and being haunted for more than just what seems like a couple of minutes it would have worked much better.


  38. [Note: Ellie posted this comment on June 20, 2013.]

    One massive problem for me: We never find out why the Gentlemen even need the 7 hearts in the first place! Why 7 and what happens when they get all of them??? This episode is otherwise basically flawless for me so it’s sooo annoying when something that seems so obvious to briefly address is just overlooked!


  39. [Note: lovinthebuff posted this comment on July 1, 2013.]

    Reading through the comments and a few people have queried Riley’s, ‘If I kiss you it’ll make the sun go down,’ line.
    Just offering my opinion, but I think this could be a glimpse of Buffy’s fear of never having a normal relationship. Buffy knows deep down that she has to date sum1 who knows her secret, and about the existence of the supernatural, otherwise its a lot of lying, (remember Scott Hope). Regardless of what he said about Buffy after they broke up, (that she was gay, when all the time he was lol), he treated Buffy with respect and compassion while they were together. Buffy repaid this with lies and deception. We know the reasons why, its not exactly something easy to tell sum1, basically changing their world, but he doesn’t know, and acts the way anyone would in his situation.

    The only proper relationship Buff has had so far was with Angel. As a vampire their relationship could only really take place at night, when the sun goes down, and we all know the turbulence they went through. Riley’s comment is a product of Buff’s mind, so could be a reference to her fear that all her relationships will be like that. Since they have to know her secret, they would know the world that exists once the sun goes down.

    So the comment could signify Buff’s fear of the above, or could be a simple hint in a prophetic dream that Riley is more than he seems, and already knows about the other world, and as Buffy points out in the next episode, she doesn’t want another relationship like that. She doesn’t want to be in the dark anymore.

    Well just a few thoughts on it, hope sum1 agrees with me. Another great review Mike 🙂


  40. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on June 20, 2014.]

    This is a great episode and I hate that a lot of people criticize it or wave it off as a gimmick, to all those people, a big, hot, steaming pile of EFF YOU.
    I mean why don’t you find me another show that does something like this so well?
    Anyway, I read the ongoing debate about the “If I kiss you it’ll make the sun go down” comment by Riley in Buffy’s dream and definitely agree to what the person above me had to say, Id like to add that this sounds so familiar to Buffy’s own (very cheesy but significant nonetheless) line to Angel, “When you kiss me I want to die.” I like when Giles talks about the mystery that is Buffy’s brain, I think she knows sub-consciously that she belongs in the dark, no matter how much she roams in the light she already has one foot in the grave because she is the Slayer. Its also possible that she says this because she hopes that there can be someone else ‘in the dark’ with her. In this case, Riley. Or it could be her brain foreshadowing that maybe Riley is in a similar position and certainly is more than he is letting on. Interesting stuff.

    This was wonderfully creative as well. Buffy and Riley were lying to each other. Not being able to speak enabled them to communicate (and smooch) for the first time. Xander and Anya’s communication problems were played more for laughs, but they were mentioned; and certainly, exposure to what really happens in Sunnydale changed Giles’ relationship with Olivia. It even brought Willow another friend and compatriot; Tara, a shy witch who isn’t just a “wanna-blessed-be.” (Loved that.)

    The Willow and Tara scene in the laundry room was very powerful. These two people who had never even spoken clasped hands and instantly communicated, connected, and created power. There was almost a click between them, as if something had fallen into place. As Buffy and Riley fought the Gentlemen, they also tried to communicate, but didn’t do as well. Buffy had to mime her heart out, so to speak, to get Riley to understand about the box. I think this is some unique symbolism, maybe I’m digging too deep but I feel like its subtle proof that Riley and Buffy are not meant for each other. Tara and Willow didn’t need words to have that connection, but Buffy had to constantly try to get Riley to register what she was saying; which could mean they don’t have that immediate connection.

    Some things I enjoyed were how outspoken Anya is, even without her voice. Spike’s insulting hand gesture to Xander, these two are perfect and I truly wish they had more hilarious scenes like this together. The musical score was excellent, its a subtle but there is a “red meat” poster on the wall of the poor dude who got his heart pulled out of him. Giles and his overheads were hilarious, Anya with the popcorn was gold and Buffy’s mime staking oh my god.

    The episode is about communication and how we just might be better at it when we don’t speak. Xander proves that he cares about Anya; Willow and Tara make a formidable team. Only poor Giles is worse off at the end than he was at the beginning. Buffy and Riley are my favorite examples of how talking doesn’t always work. At the beginning, neither of them can tell the other what is happening and they are both lying to each other. The scene where they point weapons at each other and realize what is happening is simply stunning. I remember the first time I saw this episode just cheering at that reveal. Brilliantly done.

    But, how do you end an episode in which so much happens when we are silent. Have these two people, who have discovered each other’s secret and who have finally kissed simply sit and stare at each other, unable to communicate. It doesn’t get much better than this. Totally agree with the P that it deserves! One of my all-time favorite episodes of television.


  41. [Note: Nix posted this comment on July 17, 2014.]

    btw, semi-relevant to this plot: I can confirm that Weetabix plus blood tastes like, well, rusty Weetabix. (Of course, there was much more Weetabix in this mix than Spike would use, and much less blood — but since I’d cut myself anyway I thought I might as well experiment!)


  42. [Note: Nix posted this comment on July 17, 2014.]

    Summer, Buffy’s scream does indeed sound wrong — but I think that’s because (as Joss says on the DVD commentary) it’s not actually SMG’s, it’s someone else’s dubbed in (someone else with really good lungs!). So what you’re actually hearing is that this is a scream in a rather different voice.


  43. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 28, 2015.]

    Definitely view this episode as overrated. The message about how communication gets in the way is kinda crap since there is no way conversation would have helped in Buffy and Riley’s in action encounter. Not sure why Willow would think actual witches would be at that meeting. And while there is clearly a lot of fairy tale themes at play one must ask why the Gentlemen need those hearts (what are these guys Eugene Tooms) and while they say a recording wouldn’t work they never try it and since Giles’ info is pretty old you’d wonder how those guys would be able to try something like that. Also the idea that everybody thinks they are screwed ala the rapture after a few hours or a day is a little silly. Definitely the best stuff in the episode is the jokes, the atmosphere and the Gentlemen. Those guys are like a combination of those guys from Mars Attacks and a Steven Moffat villain and they be creepy yo!


  44. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on April 5, 2015.]

    I got to say that rewatching TNG’s Darmok really shows that that episode had a much smarter look at communication than this episode did. You can argue that Hush is a better episode certainly but I kinda think that communication being a barrier to understanding is not as well thought out as understanding being a barrier to communication. Plus Picard had to actually work to understand what the Tamarian’s were saying where as the people in this episode just kind of figure it out. Maybe some of what I’m saying doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but in theory I think Darmok got across it’s ideas better than Hush did.


  45. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on April 5, 2015.]

    Well, I feel like Hush is a great episode. However, I don’t feel like it was Emmy worthy. The reason being I thought there was too much dialog actually. It took too long to get to the point of its theme: the inability to communicate. Why? They needed too much setup, and I’ll elaborate below.

    I don’t feel like the episodes prior to it gave us anything of substance to believe there were growing communication issues. The first 10 minutes or so were necessary to make us believe there were. So within the context of the season, even series, it just felt like a random episode thrown in to get a point across that perhaps Joss needed to explore.

    For me it’d be just short of a perfect score because of this.


  46. [Note: Courtney posted this comment on April 29, 2015.]

    This may seem like a moot point but Buffys outfit in the opening scene has alwasy been one I coveted. I love this so much.

    PS this ep is perfection.


  47. [Note: Ashley posted this comment on January 13, 2016.]

    In the scene where Xander blames Spike for the loss of his voice Spike gives him a look and holds up two fingers. What does that mean?


  48. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on January 13, 2016.]

    > Only familiar with British culture through Red Dwarf and Doctor Who
    > Doesn’t like the monsters from “Bad Eggs”

    QUESTION: Is Louis Jonathan Levinson?


  49. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on January 13, 2016.]

    And you know, if Louis is the late Jonathan Levinson, that would explain why he hates Season 7 post-“Conversations with Dead People” so much……


  50. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 13, 2016.]

    Hey I’ve seen the UK House of Cards and Fawlty Towers as well.

    Let’s be frank Bos the majority of people hate Season 7 post Conversations. Although I’ll be fair and say things didn’t really go south until after Never Leave Me.


  51. [Note: Other Scott posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    Hate? No, most people don’t hate Season 7 post conversations. There are some people who think it really went downhill to be almost unrecognizable, but those I think are a minority.

    Most people think Season 7 is a lesser season of the show, but still contains valuable and fun episodes and closes well. Few people think it’s some sort of abomination.


  52. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    Either way it’s about the same difference. At the very least we can agree the plot sucks.


  53. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    Perhaps but since it’s much more prominent in this one, with it’s flaws being far more prominent in this regard, it has the sense of being inferior to other seasons.


  54. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    That kind of statement can only get you so far. Plus it’s not like anyone was comparing this season to Season 3 of Secret Life of the American Teenager.


  55. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    I’m pretty sure that, given time, you’ll eventually find a way to negatively compare Buffy to Secret Life of the American Teenager.


  56. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    I doubt it since I’m probably not going to be watching any more of that show than I have in the past.

    Though if it ever comes to that I’ll let you know.


  57. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    I’m not really sure how much we can claim this is a stand-alone since it does move the pins in the Initiative and Buffy/Riley plot. I guess there are other monster-of-the-week episodes in other shows that have some plot stuff going on but I guess that’s neither here nor there.

    Still I guess if we were to judge this episode based on the quality of it’s monster (of the week) it probably would be Buffy’s best and the Gentlemen are generally considered to be the most iconic Buffy creature (even if I have some issues with this one elsewhere). In fact with some tweaks you could maybe see Mulder and Scully tackling something like this, they certainly got the atmosphere down for it.


  58. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    Is it sad that I did actually manage to come up with a possible something that Secret Life did better than Buffy (shivers). Now granted this is just from the first few episodes I saw but I think the little sister character might have actually been more likeable than Dawn. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to dunk my head in some ice.


  59. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on March 10, 2016.]

    Getting tired of reading comments of yours that acknowledge the episode briefly and immediately wheel out an episode of another show that is in your opinions ‘better’ at what the Buffy one does. Buffy did virtually everything it did as the top show of both its genre and era. There still isn’t much TV that compares even today, controversial that may be (tough – it’s true). ‘Darmok’ is a great TNG episode but only shares ONE commonality with ‘Hush’ (the characters can’t communicate). That show’s use of this trope is entirely different and comes from the POV of two alien cultures meeting, something Trek did often but rarely with the added communication issues.

    ‘Hush’ is an outstanding episode of television for all of the reasons covered by other posters. Though the oft-cited ‘sun going down when I kiss you’ is a reference to the passage of time being relative, as most lovers would tell you. It’s nothing more than that.

    Like most seasons, S4 has a strong group of stand-out episodes. Freshman, Hush, Primeval, Restless, Something Blue, Harsh light of day, Wild at Heart, A New Man, This Year’s Girl & Who Are You are all very strong episodes, for many different reasons. This season is horrendously underrated by the fandom at large. This is light years better than half of the episodes in season six and is only really topped by S2 + S5. I find the criticisms of this season very thin and poorly argued (neither Riley nor the Initiative are ‘lame’ as some dismissively post) and Adam is no poorer a villain than the Mayor was. Both were quite enigmatic, had their own plans, and were quite successful against the Scoobies until their final confrontations. This is also the season where Buffy SHOULD (but doesn’t) start learning that her ‘encounter new enemy: fight new enemy headlong’ strategy doesn’t always work, and nor should it. It’s hinted at with Sunday, but most brutally shown with Adam, that just because Buffy is the Slayer it doesn’t mean she can’t benefit from a cautious approach. Maybe this is some kind of Slayer-trait linked to Spike’s theoretical death wish…

    And do some folk seriously not know what the V-sign is? I laughed when it was described as ‘European’. A hand signal from the mysterious land of Europe…who knows what it means…


  60. [Note: LLFE posted this comment on March 10, 2016.]

    I wouldn’t want to do this but I figure Krssven deserves a response so here I am.

    If you’re wondering how I got past the comment block I had a IP address switcher thing installed a while back in order to get access to stuff that wasn’t allowed in Canada. For anyone worried the forum is still blocked and I don’t intend to do a lot of commenting anyway.

    Just because Buffy did “virtually everything it did as the top show of both its genre and era” doesn’t mean that other shows were incapable of doing things better than it either prior to it’s existence or afterwards. I also don’t see why my opinion about Darmok doing something better should be in quotations when your view on Buffy isn’t any more or less and opinion. Also if you want more detailed thoughts on this episode I had a forum topic set up a little while ago.

    Also just because an episode has one basic commonality with another episode doesn’t mean that they can’t be compared on that level. I know at least one person who compared Voyager’s The Thaw and Doctor Who’s Listen for their views of fear despite them being very different kinds of episodes.

    The ultimate reason why The Mayor is considered a more successful villain than Adam is because a) he had a good deal more screentime which allowed us to get used to him and appreciate him in the Big Bad role b)he had much more depth as a character as we saw his various interests as well as his relationship with the town, Faith etc. I believe Riley, Adam and the Initiative are considered “lame” by people is because they either seem to lack any real competence or interest beyond a superficial level.

    Also sorry for intruding and hopefully this hasn’t caused much trouble.


  61. [Note: trilliumjente posted this comment on September 8, 2016.]

    I’m surprised no one else has commented about this. Regarding the crashed car & fire hydrant: I think there was a more everyday reason for that. Didn’t anyone notice where the car & fire hydrant were located? Right outside the bar that was “Yes, we are open!” The lack of speech may have had something to do with the inebriated driver leaving the scene of the accident, and nobody would be able to use the phone to call about having the fire hydrant repaired. Or maybe the driver hit the fire hydrant after he/she swerved to avoid someone staggering out of the bar, and then left to find someone to repair the hydrant.


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