20. Ep. 4.4 Fear, Itself Everyone agreed the transition to college would be a strain on the Scoobies as well as the show. Indeed, Season Four was incredibly slow going until this episode. This was the one that brought into light the growing gaps between the Scoobies and also made you realize Season Four was going to be great as well.
21. Ep. 4.6 Wild at Heart
Once again, Alyson Hannigan is the best thing to watch. Her crying will make you cry as well.
22. Ep. 4.8 Pangs
Xander's penis gets diseases from a Chumash tribe, a vengence demon attacks Buffy's Thanksgiving dinner, and Spike seeks refuge at Giles's apartment. Oh, and Angel comes to help fight but without Buffy's knowledge, which is set up for the Angel episode, “I Will Remember You.”
23. Ep. 4.9 Something Blue
This is the first episode where we get a good glimpse into Willow's potential power. In an attempt to stop the heartache over Oz's leaving, she casts a spell for her will to be done. Of course, she wills that she doesn't feel pain anymore, but that doesn't work. Eventually everything she says becomes true, and wacky hijinks ensue. But in a good way.
24. Ep. 4.12 A New Man
Another Giles-centric episode, with Giles feeling very out of place and not needed among the Scoobies. Unfortunately for him, that's exactly when Ethan Rayne returns to town. Fortunately for him, Buffy would know him no matter what he looked like.
25. Ep. 4.21 Primeval
The Scoobies realize that they work better as a team and literally come together to fight Adam. They succeed and also put an end to The Initiative completely.
26. Ep. 4.22 Restless
A very odd, but very fun, way to end Season Four. Having pissed off the First Slayer by channeling her power in “Primeval,” she haunts the Scoobies and tries to kill them in their dreams. My favorite lines include when Spike declares that Giles is teaching him to be a Watcher, they're both on swings, and Giles yells, “Put your back into it! A Watcher scoffs at gravity!” Later, Buffy is talking to Riley and Adam, and the guys realize they need to build a fort. “I'll find pillows,” Adam says. Also look for Tara telling Buffy to “be back before Dawn.”
27. Ep. 5.2 The Real Me
I really dug Dawn, especially in Season Five. She was whiny, annoying, intrusive, and jealous. She was the perfect little sister. This episode gave excellent character background for Dawn, which was essential in order not to confuse everyone beyond belief.
28. Ep. 5.3 The Replacement
Again, a Xander episode (I really really like those). Two Xanders! One's all bumbling and insecure and dirty and the other is confident and suave and gets a promotion at work. Which one is the real Xander?
29. Ep. 5.5 No Place like Home
Just five episodes into the season, and we already have the entire season's arc laid out. Buffy learns who Dawn is and why she's there. There's a really touching scene at the end where Dawn and Buffy make up, and Buffy knows what Dawn is but still bickers with her like they did before she knew anything.
30. Ep. 5.6 Family
This is such a cheesey episode, but sometimes you need a little cheese. It is also nice to see Tara not just be Willow's girlfriend, but an actual character herself.
31. Ep. 5.7 Fool for Love
As far as Slayer and Buffyverse mythology go, this is a pivotal episode. Buffy goes to Spike because she wants to learn exactly how he killed previous Slayers. I love the flashback episodes, regardless. This episode set up a question for me, though. During the Boxer Rebellion, wouldn't Angel have already been cursed? But then in Season Two of “Angel,” we get to see the same flashback but from Angel's point of view. Very cool.
32. Ep. 5.10 Into the Woods
I love an episode where Xander is so emotionally in tune to Buffy's feelings. Riley's an ass, though, for wanting Buffy to turn so much to him and feeling neglected while her mother has a brain tumor, for cryin' out loud. Oh well. Bye bye Riley!
33. Ep. 5.12 Checkpoint
Buffy gives the smackdown to the Watchers' Council, and I could watch that over and over again.
34. Ep. 5.13 Blood Ties
Dawn learns that she is the key, and it is so sad to see her hurt over this. Sad television=good television. See below.
35. Ep. 5.16 The Body
There is nothing I can say here to do the horrible beauty of this episode any justice.
36. Ep. 5.22 The Gift
Buffy does what every Slayer must eventually do: die to save the world. She saved the world a lot.
to be continued...