Welcome (back) to the Hellmouth! Friday, March 10, marks 20 years since the series premiere of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Buffy Anne Summers arrived in Sunnydale, met the Scooby Gang and got her first cryptic warning from Angel. Obviously, a lot has changed in those two decades — for starters, the Chosen One would probably be telling Giles to text or snap her, not beep her, if the apocalypse were imminent.
But many things have stayed exactly the same: The answer to most of life’s questions can still be found within a Buffy episode (as can a comeback for every occasion), and certain scenes are just as inspiring or gut-wrenching as they were when they originally aired. For proof, take a look back at seven of the most iconic moments from the show’s seven seasons in the video above.
1. Buffy Defeats the Master
The face-off between Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the Master in season 1’s “Big Bad” is packed with great one-liners. The most frequently quoted? That would be Buffy’s triumphant “I may be dead, but I’m still pretty … which is more than I can say for you.” But if you ask Us, the best comeback of the episode has to be the kiss-off Buffy issues right before she dusts the ancient bloodsucker: “If you’re so amped about hell, go there!” Ouch.
2. Buffy and Angel Make Love
Fans waited a season and a half to see the star-crossed duo go all the way, but little did they know that an old gypsy curse meant the Irish-born vamp would lose his (albeit tortured) soul if he felt one shred of “true happiness.” Not only was the scene immensely gratifying for “Bangel” shippers, it became the catalyst for the remainder of the season, which ended with the Buffster sending her re-souled love to Hell — a turn of events that left both our heroine and the audience in heaving sobs. (If you weren’t crying by the time she whispers, “Close your eyes,” you might be the soulless one.)
3. Graduation Day Battle
It’s tough to say which moment garners more applause: seeing Buffy finally get the respect she deserved as her senior class rallies around her during the Ascension or watching the mayor turned giant snake demon get blown to smithereens in the school library.
4. Buffy’s Mom Dies
Even though Joyce had her annoying overprotective moments, as the show progressed, she became one of the Slayer’s biggest champions and an emotional anchor for the whole Scooby Gang. Plus, no matter how many times you watch it, Gellar’s acting in the scene is completely heartbreaking.
5. Buffy Sacrifices Herself
Speaking of a total gut punch, between Buffy’s goodbye speech, her swan dive off the platform and Spike’s meltdown after realizing she was dead, was anyone not a puddle of tears?
6. The Musical
This episode stood out as one of the strongest hours in the supernatural drama’s sixth season. While some of the Whedon-penned ditties were snoozy on their own, each of the major numbers provided crucial exposition and revealed secrets the characters had been desperately trying to bury.
7. Buffy’s Speech to the Slayers
Ranking the Slayer’s monologues could be an article unto itself, and there could even be a whole second rundown for her rallying-the-troops addresses alone. Watching every potential slayer awaken as Buffy’s words come through in the voice-over as she prepares her crew for their biggest battle yet, well, that’s near impossible to top.
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