The Scoobies Become Tara’s Family
Tara’s family arrives from out of town to collect her as they inform her she will start displaying signs of her half-demon side. Even after putting the Scoobies in accidental harm’s way, Buffy and the gang refuse to let her abusive father take Tara away. When he barks at them, “We are her blood kin! Who the hell are you?” Buffy responds, “We’re family.”
Spike Comforts Buffy (Instead Of Killing Her)
After learning his history of slayer-slayings, Spike tries to kiss Buffy only to be rejected in the harshest way. Spike responds understandably by grabbing his shotgun and heading to Buffy’s house to blow her away. Instead, when he arrives, he finds her weeping quietly on the back step, crumbling under the weight of her mother’s illness. He levels the gun at her face and she asks him miserably, “What do you want NOW?” In one of his character’s defining moments, Spike cocks his head and asks, “What’s wrong?” He sets his murder aside and sits next to her on the step, awkwardly patting her back. What’s more, Buffy lets him.
Xander Gives Willow His Iconic Yellow Crayon Speech
Dark Willow is all set to destroy the world in the wake of her grief-fueled magic bender and it’s the most unlikely of characters who ends up saving us all: Xander. He approaches her on the mountaintop with no weapons, no special powers — just this incredibly moving speech that has gone down in pop culture as a classic:
“The first day of kindergarten, you cried because you broke the yellow crayon and you were too afraid to tell anyone. You’ve come pretty far. Ending the world — not a terrific notion…But the thing is…yeah, I love you. I love crayon-breaky Willow and I love scary, veiny Willow. So if I’m goin’ out, it’s here. If you wanna kill the world, well, then start with me. I’ve earned that.”
Willow and Tara’s First Kiss
As we see how the Scoobies handle Joyce’s untimely, unexpected death, a single bright spot in the darkness is Willow and Tara’s first kiss. It’s a beautiful moment where Tara, ostensibly the only calm one in the bunch, grounds a panicking Willow with a tender moment of passion. It’s almost more a moment of kindness than romance and that’s what makes it so special.
Anya’s Wedding Vow
While it’s obvious that Xander and Anya never ended up actually tying the knot, Anya’s vow was inspired and beautiful. It showed us that a vengeance demon who’s spent centuries hating men could change her tune upon meeting the (ostensibly) right man. It’s decidedly honest and raw and true, regardless of the fact that Xander doesn’t go through with their nuptials:
“Ahem. ‘I, Anya, want to marry you, Xander, because I love you and I always will. Before I met you, I was, like, a different person. Not even a person, really…and I had seen what love did to people. It was hurt. And sadness. Alone was better. And then suddenly there was you, and you knew me, you saw me, and it was this…thing. You make me feel warm, and safe. So I get it now, I finally get love, Xander. I really do.'”
Buffy Gives Spike The Respect He Finally Earned
Spike spends much of season 5 pining after Buffy for all the wrong reasons. But after the brutal interrogation from Glory about the location of the Key (Dawn,) he holds out and doesn’t tell her anything. Impersonating the super weird and creepy sexbot that Spike had Warren build for him, Buffy finds out how much he let spill. When the answer is ‘nothing,’ she gives Spike a tender kiss that immediately outs her as the real Buffy. While it’s not exactly what Spike is hoping for, it’s still a step in the right direction.
Sunnydale High Honors Buffy’s Many Good Deeds
In a particularly moving moment, Jonathan — who Buffy had previously stopped from committing suicide in the school tower — presents Buffy with a special award thought up by the grateful students of Sunnydale High. Though she feels that her sacrifices in life (such as not having a date to prom because he’s, you know, a vampire) are mostly overlooked, her fellow students prove that she’s much more appreciated than one might suspect. It’s just a glittery umbrella, but more importantly it marks her as “Class Protector,” and that small gesture means the world to Buffy.
Giles Attacks The Mayor For Threatening Buffy
There are too many father-daughter moments with Giles and Buffy to name, but one that sticks out is when the Mayor invades the safety of the library and threatens the whole gang with his apocalyptic “Ascension.” Buffy spits out some snark and the Mayor responds to Giles: “That’s one spunky little girl you’ve raised. I’m gonna eat her.” Giles’ response? To plunge a sword right through his chest. While it doesn’t actually hurt the Mayor, it definitely surprises him, and shows us all just how devoted Giles is to his Slayer.
Angel Pretends To Be Angelus Again For Information
It’s incredibly uncomfortable to watch Angel return to the persona of Angelus, as well as buddying up to the slayer-gone-bad Faith, but it all pays off when it turns out to be a big ruse. Needing information about the Ascension, Angel does what needs to be done — and the look on Faith’s face when she realizes she’s been had is priceless.
While the moment itself may be sad and tragic, it’s the act of sacrifice on Buffy’s part that makes this moment so inspiring. Buffy, someone who has spent much of her life giving up parts of her so others can be safe, gives the ultimate gift: her life in exchange for the world. And not only that, but she leaves Dawn (and us) with a very wise message: “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.”