Anyone who’s seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer will appreciate how peculiar it is. The show is a mad cocktail of genres ranging from horror to comedy. And whilst every season has a couple of duds, the show excels for the most part due to the stellar writing.
The finales are no exception. Each season rounded off the Scooby Gang’s adventures with a first-class episode. There isn’t a single finale which is disappointing. But this makes ranking them from worst to best all the more difficult.
With the exception of season 4, all the finales involve taking down the respective season’s primary villain – the Big Bad. Yet there’s always more to Buffy than the action sequences. The dialogue and the characters elevate the show to a remarkably high standard, and though all the finales deserve credit, some are certainly more emotive than others.
Indeed, when the characters are this good, it’s hard not to shed a tear or two during several of these final episodes. And though it's been seventeen years since the show finished, several of these finales are still ranked amongst the best episodes of television ever made...
7. Prophecy Girl – Season 1
The first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a fun ride. There’s a warmness to this season which is particularly noticeable upon second viewing. But when compared with the other six seasons, it’s pretty rough around the edges, and the finale is no exception.
The Master simply isn’t an interesting Big Bad. Sure, he’s creepy enough, but he’s a pretty cliché villain – there isn’t much depth to his character at all. And after Buffy is saved by Xander and Angel, her final confrontation with him is pretty brief when compared with the action sequences in some of the other finales.
Yet despite being the weakest finale, Prophecy Girl is one of the best episodes of the first season. Joss Whedon’s dialogue is superb throughout. The scene in the library where Buffy’s emotions overwhelm her and she voices her fear of death is beautifully written and performed. And the same can be said of the moment when Xander asks her out.
As such, this episode is far from terrible. The monster-of-the-week storyline which dominates the rest of the season is replaced with a more character-centric plot. The ultimate defeat of the Big Bad is just a bit pathetic when compared with the other finales.