While Joss Whedon receives full marks for not keeping his characters in high school for eight years, their transition into adulthood is awkward although that might have been the point. Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and friends graduated with a bang at the end of season three. Season Four takes them into the worlds of college and work. Also, it marks the transition of David Boreanaz (Bones) and Charisma Carpenter (Veronica Mars) off of Buffy and on to the spin-off Angel. Buffy and best friend Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) start their freshman year of college at Sunnydale University while Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) struggles to find his way in the work world. Buffys now-fired Watcher, Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) searches for his own place as his former charge becomes more independent. This season marks several important changes for the characters as love interests come and go, enemies change and the Scoobies learn to adapt.
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The Freshman - Buffy, Willow and Daniel Oz Osbourne (Seth Green) enter their first year at Sunnydale U. While feeling completely out of place, Buffy confronts vampire Sunday who promptly beats up the Slayer. This episode also introduces Riley Finn (Marc Blucas - Thr3e) who has a bracing introduction to the Slayer. And, at the end of the episode, we see a vampire captured by mysterious guys in camo. Fav. Quote: Buffy, I've gone through some fairly dark times in my life, faced some scary things, among them the kitchen at 'The Fabulous Ladies Night Club.' Let me tell you something, when it's dark and I'm all alone and I'm scared or freaked out or whatever, I always think, 'What would Buffy do? You're my hero. Ok, sometimes when it's dark and I'm all alone I think, 'What is Buffy wearing? - Xander
Living Conditions - In typical Joss Whedon fashion, real-life issues take a Hellmouth turn in this episode when Buffy butts heads with her roommate Kathy. Make-up in this episode is awesome. Fav. Quote: Why couldn't Giles have shackles like any self respecting bachelor? - Xander
In the Harsh Light of Day - Romance is in the air as Buffy hooks up with Parker Abrams (Adam Kaufman) and former vengeance demon Anya (Emma Caulfield) returns to see Xander. Two other familiar faces come back to Sunnydale and wreak havoc: former classmate Harmony Kendall (Mercedes McNab) and her new boyfriend Spike (James Marsters). In a crossover episode with Angel, Spike finds the mythical Gem of Amara which renders the vampire wearing it virtually unkillable. Fav. Quote: Neck. Paler. The puppy. The angry puppy. - Buffy
Fear, Itself - Halloween, the one night Buffy should have off, takes a scary turn as a frat house becomes a true haunted house. And, we learn that Anya is afraid of something... furry. Fav. Quote: Big overture. Little show. - Xander
Beer Bad - Buffy decides to deal with Parkers rejection by hanging out with a group of guys and drinking at the bar where Xander now works. Unfortunately, the beer is cursed, resulting in serious issues as Buffy becomes Cave Slayer. As usual, drinking alcohol has serious repercussions. Fav. Quote: TV is a good thing. Bright colors. Music. Tiny little people. - Xander
Wild at Heart - In a heart-wrenching episode, Oz and Willow face problems with their relationship when Oz appears fascinated by fellow musician Veruca (Paige Moss). Veruca, however, knows why Oz has such an animal attraction to her and decides to take matters into her own hands. This episode sets up a huge character arc for Willow. Fav. Quote: - Oz, dont you love me? - My whole life... Ive never loved anything else. - Willow & Oz
The Initiative - Riley finally figures out what the rest of us have known for a while: hes this years love interest. However, its revealed that hell have some issues trying to have a normal relationship since hes keeping a big secret a stealthy camo secret. And the Big Bad escapes from the commando guys only to discover that theyve done something to him thats going to change everything. Fav. Quote: And remember, if you hurt her, I will beat you to death with a shovel. A vague disclaimer is nobodys friend. Have fun. - Willow
Pangs - Buffy wants to have a perfect Thanksgiving meal even though her mom (Kristine Sutherland) is out of town. Problem is, Xander accidentally uncovered an old mission and released an angry Chumash spirit which is exacting vengeance on behalf of its people. And to top it off, Angels in town but wont let anyone tell Buffy. This leads into an Angel crossover with the tear-jerker episode I Will Remember You. Fav. Quote: I'm not evil again. Why does everyone think that? - Angel
Something Blue - Willow tries to cope with Ozs absence by doing a spell that goes a little crazy with very humorous results. This is probably my favorite episode of this season because the banter between Spike and Buffy is hysterical. Fav. Quote: - Passions is on! Timmy's down the bloody well, and if you make me miss it, I'll... - You'll do what? Lick me to death? - Spike & Giles
Hush - In this Emmy-nominated episode, Joss Whedon proved that he is a genius. Well, I think so anyway. The idea is a fairly simple one: creepy Gentlemen come to town and take everyones voices. This means most of the episode is done without speaking. The make-up, special effects and acting in this episode is definitely among the best in the entire series. And a great commentary from Joss explains not only how things were done but the entire theme behind the plot. This episode also introduces an important new character Tara Mclay (Amber Benson) a Wicca who has an apparent connection with Willow. Because theres not much speaking, my favorite quote is written: In case of emergency, use stairs.
Doomed - Picking up directly after Hush ends, this episode is all about the Riley / Buffy relationship, if its worth even trying. Also, we take a little trip back to high school. Fav. Quote: - Its the end of the world. - Again? - Giles & Scoobies
A New Man - Ethan Rayne (Robin Sachs) returns to wreak havoc on his old friend Ripper by turning Giles into a demon. Ethan also shares the first bit of information concerning something evil in the Initiative, something called 314. Fav. Quote: - We thought you were a myth. - Well, you were myth-taken. - Maggie Walsh & Buffy
The I in Team - Buffy tries to work with the Initiative but finds that her nontraditional methods arent exactly welcome. In fact, Maggie Walsh (Lindsey Crouse) decides that Buffy is a threat to her pet project in 314. While Buffy and Riley are dealing with this latest issue, Walshs pet, Adam (George Hertzberg), wakes and does some damage. Make-up for Adam is amazing. Fav. Quote: Everyone's getting spanked but me. - Willow
Goodbye Iowa - The Initiative is in an uproar as their leader is found dead and a few suspect Buffy. Riley, meanwhile, is behaving strangely and Adam is on the loose. Fav. Quote: Got to hand it to you goldilocks - you do have bleeding tragic taste in men. I've got a cousin married to a regurgitating frovilops demon that's got better instincts than you. - Spike
This Years Girl - Its the return of everyones favorite homicidal rogue Slayer, Faith (Eliza Dushku). Last seen at the end of season three when Buffy put her into a coma, in this two-parter (and eventual crossover to Angel) Faith wakes and wants some revenge. Note for Whedon fans: check out his serious foreshadowing in Faiths dream as she comments Little sis coming. I know. Fav. Quote: Actually I was thinking My daughter is going to kill you soon. - Joyce
Who Are You - The previous episode ended with only the audience knowing that Faith was now in Buffys body. Now, Buffy in Faiths body has to figure out how to get her own body back as Faith in Buffys body has some fun. Interestingly enough, its Faith who realizes the truth about Willow and Taras relationship, making her the first on the show to comment on what would become quite a controversy with some audience members. Fav. Quote: So Willow's not driving stick anymore. - Faith in Buffys body
Superstar - Whedon has some fun with this episode by dropping the audience into the middle of a world that doesnt feel quite right. Jonathan Levenson (Danny Strong) is no longer the kid everyone picked on at Sunnydale High. Now hes the most popular person in the world. He invented the internet and starred in The Matrix. Hes even included in the credits. Fav. Quote: They get into a fistfight, I've got a fifty on Anya. - Buffy talking about Xander & Anya
Where the Wild Things Are - In a seriously heated episode not intended for young viewers, Buffy and Riley waken some bad mojo in the frat house by non-stop... well, you know. The special effects are okay, but this episode is worth watching just to hear Giles singing. Fav. Quote: Theres ghosts and shaking and people going all Felicity with their hair. - Xander
New Moon Rising - An episode all about choosing between two things you love. Ozs return complicates things for Willow and Tara. Things for Riley become intense when the Initiative captures Oz and wants to experiment on the werewolf. Choices are made and the plot thickens. Fav. Quote: I'll have the less confusing waffles right now. - Willow
The Yoko Factor - After returning from an intense Angel crossover, Buffy goes searching for Adam. Unfortunately, when she finds him, one of Rileys friends is killed. As if this isnt a big enough bombshell for Riley, Angel appears to try to patch things up from a rough LA encounter. Spike, working for Adam, pushes the Scoobies into a nasty (although quite funny) fight that results in everyone going their own way. Fav. Quote: And besides, when is there any us two? You two are the two who are the two. I'm the other one. - Willow
Primeval - Unlike previous seasons, the big fight occurs in this next-to-last episode. Buffy and friends realize that Spike was baiting them and discover a way to defeat Adam. The commentary reveals an amusing note concerning a writing mistake resolved by Spike in this episode. Fav. Quote: Xander, just because this is never gonna work, there's no need
to be negative. - Xander
Restless - In a unique finale, Whedon explores each character through connected dreams in which the First Slayer attempts to kill the main four Scoobies. This allowed Whedon to bring back dead or departed characters to reflect some part of each characters psyche. Some parts are very strange while others are just funny. Also, Whedons included commentary gives insight into why and how he wrote this particular episode. Fav. Quote: I wear the cheese. It does not wear me. - The Cheese Man
Overall, the season isnt the best, but the commentary is good and the make-up for this season as a whole is amazing. The special effects are okay, but it is a tv budget after all. It has some of the best episodes when looked at piece-by-piece and is important to the entire series.
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