->''Can't even shout, Can't even cry,''
->''The Gentlemen are coming by,''
->''Lookin' in windows, Knockin' on doors,''
->''They need to take seven and they might take yours,''
->''Can't call to mom, Can't say a word,''
->''You're gonna die screaming but you won't be heard''

A pack of [[FairytaleMotifs bogeymen]] known as The Gentlemen steal the voices of everyone in Sunnydale. Buffy and Riley discover the truth about each other.

This is the first appearance of Creator/AmberBenson as Tara, as well as the acting debut of Andy Hallett, who would go on to play Lorne in ''Series/{{Angel}}''. Also the only episode of the show that was ever nominated for an Emmy for its script; ironic for something with so little dialogue. It was also the only Emmy nominee to ''not be on the ballot'', as a printing error left it off the forms.

----

* AbsurdlySharpBlade: The scalpels the Gentlemen use are capable of cutting out a human heart and a slash from one during battle is enough to stun Buffy long enough for the Footmen to get the upper hand. Probably justified since they ''are'' scalpels used by murderous demons after all.
* AcceptableReligiousTargets: A group of Neopagans Willow meets in college are portrayed as idiots who have no idea what they're talking about. Willow and Tara, who simply alter the fabric of reality with no religious connotations at all, are portrayed as far wiser. This type is known as the College Pagan, the Fluffy Bunny, or the Shirley [=MacLeaner=] among the pagan community.
* AccidentalUnfortunateGesture: During the Scooby Gang's meeting regarding the Gentlemen, Willow mimes that the Gentlemen want hearts. Xander interprets it as [[AllMenArePerverts breasts]]. After that Buffy attempts to suggest staking them. It comes out as... something else.
* AllPsychologyIsFreudian
* AlmostKiss: Buffy and Riley; unusually for this trope it's Buffy, not a third party, who acts as MomentKiller with her GibberishOfLove.
* AmIJustAToyToYou: Anya wonders this about Xander, until he proves his love by beating up [[ButtMonkey Spike]].
* AndIMustScream: Only you can't, [[NightmareFuel even when you're being held down on the bed as grinning demons approach you with a scalpel...]]
* AnxietyDreams: Riley kissing her in front of a classroom of watching students reflects Buffy's nervousness about getting her FirstKiss from him.
* ArtisticLicenseReligion: The {{Wicca}}ns haughty attitude to the idea of spellcasting is justified as it's an actual religion rather than a means of gaining Dark Powers.
* AsleepInClass: Willow assures Buffy that she was very discreet about it.
* BadassInANiceSuit and SlasherSmile: The Gentlemen
* BadassPrincess: According to legend, the scream of a princess killed the Gentlemen. Fortunately AllMythsAreTrue.
* BlatantLies: Buffy's and Riley's cover stories. Buffy will be patrolling--- uh... "petroleum". Riley will be "grading papers". What papers? Uh... late ones.
* BottomlessMagazines: Averted; Riley's taser rifle runs out of power in the middle of the battle.
* BrokenHeel: Tara trips and drops her books; as she is gathering them up we see the Gentlemen gliding up behind her.
* CantYouReadTheSign: Riley and Forest take the elevator down to the Initiative, but [[OpenSesame can't provide the voice ID]] and the elevator starts to fill with DeadlyGas. They're rescued before they asphyxiate; after letting them out, Professor Walsh points out the sign that reads "In case of emergency, use stairs".
* CannotSpitItOut: An underlying theme -- various characters only start communicating once their voices have gone.
* ChekhovsGunman: Olivia from "The Freshman" makes a reappearance.
* ChekhovsLecture: Professor Walsh's lecture on the difference between language and communication.
* ClockTower: The Gentlemen have made their base in a boarded-up clock tower, and the climactic battle takes place there.
* CoincidentalBroadcast: The Scoobies are all grouped around a TV showing a news broadcast from LA regarding everyone in Sunnydale losing their voices. A strong argument could be made that this example is [[JustifiedTrope justified]] -- an entire freaking town losing their voices simultaneously is bound to get through at least one person's WeirdnessCensor.
** Also the Scoobies were already watching TV; Xander simply calls attention to the broadcast at the appropriate point.
* ContinuityNod: Spike drinks from the "Kiss the Librarian" mug used to feed him in "Something Blue". Willow wants to float something bigger than a pencil ("Choices").
* ConvenientlyTimedAttackFromBehind: The Footmen have Buffy pinned while a grinning Gentlemen advances on her wielding a scalpel...then Riley frees her with a well-aimed taser blast.
* CrashIntoHello: When Tara meets Willow (they'd seen each other earlier at a Wicca group but not talked). Tara is pounding on doors trying to escape the Gentlemen when she literally runs into Willow, knocking them both over and giving her a TwistedAnkle which slows them in fleeing from the floating horrors.
* CreepyChildrenSinging: In her dream Buffy sees a young blonde girl (presumably herself at an earlier age) singing about the Gentlemen, while holding a box that turns out to be the [[ChekhovsGun key to breaking their spell]].
* CurseOfBabel: Though instead of speaking different languages, the victims can't speak at all.
* CutApart: [[spoiler:Tara hammering one of the dorm room's doors, and Willow waking up from the noise. The door opens...to reveal one of The Gentlemen holding a bloody heart. This was actually hinted, since Tara had previously found Willow's room number (which isn't the number on the door).]]
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: Willow suggests to the Wiccans that they try using actual magic for a change. They all give her a look, then one of them says: "Oh yeah, then we could all get on our broomsticks and fly around on our broomsticks."
* DramaticPause: One of Giles' briefing [=OHTs=] is marked only with the word THEN to introduce a suitable dramatic pause in his exposition.
* DramaticShattering: Everyone jumps when a boy drops a [[INeedAFreakingDrink beer bottle]] in the now silent lounge room.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome
* DrowningMySorrows: The banks are closed but the liquor stores are open.
* EmpathicEnvironment: In Buffy's dream Riley tells her, "If I kiss you, it'll make the sun go down." After they kiss, the class is empty and everything's darker.
* EnemyMime: The Gentlemen communicate through gesture.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Tara at the Wiccan meeting. She sits on the floor because she doesn't have the confidence to insist on a chair, perks up when Willow mentions magic, but then stutters and retreats when all the attention is on her. See also HiddenDepths.
* EroticDream / DaydreamSurprise: Buffy's prophetic dream has Riley kissing her [[AnxietyDreams in front of the entire class]].
* FacialDialogue: A matter of necessity.
* FairytaleMotifs: Giles explicitly describes The Gentleman as "fairytale monsters" in his mute lecture.
* FauxAffablyEvil: The Gentlemen use excessively polite gestures with each other.
* FlashbackCut: Buffy remembers the singing child in her dream holding the box containing everyone's voices.
* FirstKiss: Buffy/Riley
* FlippingTheBird: Spike doesn't need a voice to communicate. He gives the British [[VSign two-finger version]].
* FlyingBroomstick: A [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad non-empowering stereotype]] for Wiccans.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Forrest holding up COME ON, COME ON on his notebook as Riley struggles to deactivate the DeadlyGas.
* GameFace: Spike vamps out after drinking a mug of blood. This is NotHelpingYourCase when he then drops something near a sleeping Anya, leaning down near her neck to pick it up.
* GasLeakCoverup: Apparently the Mayor's demise has not ended SunnydaleSyndrome -- the authorities blame the sudden loss of everyone's voices on "flu vaccinations". Others think it's all a big hoax.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Willow and Tara -- notice the HeldGaze and IntertwinedFingers and constant praise of each others...spellcasting?
* GoryDiscretionShot: The frat boy who's had his heart removed.
* HiddenDepths: Despite her introverted persona, Tara works out a spell that might help everyone get their voices back, and is brave enough to go out at night to find Willow and share it with her.
* HoldingHands: Buffy and Willow walking through Sunnydale after everyone has been struck dumb.
* HomoeroticSubtext: Spander
-->'''Xander:''' Don't even think of biting me.
-->'''Spike:''' Sure, you're just a yummy treat.
-->'''Xander:''' Course, I am. [[ITasteDelicious I'm moist and delicious.]]
* ImprovisedWeapon: Everything Buffy and Riley can get their hands on in the clock tower, including hanging ropes and the bell.
* IntertwinedFingers: Willow and Tara casting the spell [[ThePowerOfLove to move the soda machine]].
* InTheBack: Buffy gets back-sliced by a scalpel-wielding Gentleman.
* IResembleThatRemark: Lampshaded. Buffy is a little upset when Giles shows the slide of her patrolling, specifically miming "Hey, my hips aren't ''that'' big!!"
* {{Ironic Nursery Tune}}
* {{Irony}}: When Buffy and Riley get their voices back and have something really important to talk about, they can't think of anything to say.
** Professor Walsh re Buffy during her lecture: "A typical college girl, one assumes."
** "We have a gig that would inevitably cause any girl living to think we are cool upon cool." When Buffy finds her Mr Joe Ordinary is a demon hunter like herself, she wants to break off the relationship.
* JumpScare (see CutApart)
* KnuckleCracking: Giles before he starts his silent lecture.
* LargeHam: When Giles reveals that a scream can kill the Gentlemen, Willow grabs a CD and mimics with exaggerated gestures their demise. Giles has to inform her that only a human voice will work.
* LastSecondWordSwap
-->'''Riley:''' So, what have you got going on tonight?
-->'''Buffy:''' Patrolling.
-->'''Riley:''' Patrolling?.
-->'''Buffy:''' ...petroleum.
* LittleDeadRidingHood: Although she wears blue (see RedOniBlueOni) in the DVDCommentary Creator/JossWhedon refers to Tara meeting the Gentlemen as TheLostWoods scene. This shows how Tara is taking over the DamselInDistress role from Willow, who was becoming too powerful and assertive.
* LectureAsExposition: Lampshaded and subverted when Giles is forced to this without his ability to speak.
* LockDown: The CDC isn't letting anyone in or out of Sunnydale.
* LoudOfWar
* [[LoveAtFirstSight Love At First Spell]]: Tillow is born.
* LoveCannotOvercome: Giles's TemporaryLoveInterest Olivia. At the end of the episode after Olivia learns of the existence of demons, she says, "Scary." Giles asks, "Too scary?" and Olivia responds, "I'm not sure." Since we never see her again after that, we can presume that it was indeed too scary for her.
* {{Make Me Wanna Shout}}: Buffy's scream kills the Gentlemen.
* TheMasqueradeWillKillYourDatingLife
-->'''Forrest:''' This is the burden we bear, brother. We have a gig that would inevitably cause any girl living to think we are cool upon cool, yet we must [[ClarkKenting Clark Kent]] our way through the dating scene, never to use our unfair advantage. [[GoodLookingPrivates Thank God we're pretty]].
* MissionBriefing: Without any spoken dialogue.
* ModestyBedsheet: Averted; Olivia slides out from under the covers and puts on a robe in the dark bedroom.
* MoodWhiplash: From wacky misunderstanding (see NotWhatItLooksLike) to romantic kiss (Xander and Anya) to dramatic chase scene (Willow and Tara).
* {{Mooks}}: The shambling Footmen in their BedlamHouse straightjackets.
* NightmareFuel: Even the LectureAsExposition (with gracious quantities of MoodWhiplash).
* NightmareFuelColoringBook: Giles is expositioning away via overhead transparencies.
-->''They come to a town'' (picture of two Gentlemen on a hill overlooking some buildings)
-->''They steal all the voices no one can scream'' (picture of two Gentlemen on hill and four people losing voices)
-->''[[DramaticPause Then]]'' (picture of Gentlemen; Giles [[DeclarativeFinger holds up index finger for emphasis]])
-->(picture of Gentlemen wielding red knife standing over person in bed, their chest is red, and red is dripping onto floor)
-->(Buffy and Willow exchange a look, Anya munches her popcorn).
* NonverbalMiscommunication: While brainstorming on how they might slay the demons, Buffy shrugs and nonchalantly [[ADateWithRosiePalms pumps her hand up and down]] in the air in front of her, drawing looks of startled disbelief from her friends. Embarrassed at their reactions, she pulls a wooden stake out of her bag and repeats the motion. Everyone gets it.
** Xander confusing Willow's "heart" gesture [[AllMenArePerverts for breasts]].
** Later, Buffy tries to signal to Riley that he needs to smash the box on a table that's holding all the voices inside it. Riley thinks she means the crystal next to it and hits that, then grins like a dope at her before an exasperated Buffy makes more specific gestures.
* MorningRoutine: Buffy brushing her teeth before she realises she can't speak.
* NewspaperThinDisguise: [[CovertPervert Willow]] hides behind an open writing pad to spy on Buffy flirting with Riley.
* NoDialogueEpisode
* NotWhatItLooksLike: Xander sees blood on Spike's lips as he's bent near a sleeping Anya -- cue BerserkButton.
* OrganTheft: The Gentlemen must take seven hearts for an unknown purpose.
* PassThePopcorn: Anya munches popcorn throughout Giles' mimed overhead-projector lecture about the Gentlemen.
* PowerFloats: The Footmen move in a shambling walk while the Gentlemen float just above the ground.
* PretenderDiss: Willow dismisses most of the neo-pagans at her college as a "bunch of wannablessedbes". Fortunately for her, Tara turns out to be an exception.
--> '''Willow''': Talk, all talk! [[BlahBlahBlah Blah blah, Gaia, blah blah]], moon, [[BuffySpeak menstrual life-force power thingy]]. You know, after a couple of sessions I was hoping we would get into something real, but...
-->'''Buffy''': No actual witches in your witch group?
-->'''Willow''': No, bunch of wanna-blessed-be's. You know, nowadays every girl with a Henna tattoo and a spice rack thinks she's a sister to the Dark Ones.
* RedOniBlueOni: Willow (outgoing, magically powerful and impulsive) wears red while Tara (shy, but with longer experience in magic) wears blue.
* RiddleForTheAges: Why do the Gentlemen need those hearts?
** [[FridgeBrilliance Oh wow.]] StealthPun, thy name is ChristinaPerri.
** A clue might be in Revelations 15:1, the verse being read in the silent prayer meeting held on the streets of Sunnydale.
-->''Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished]].''
* RoboSpeak: Walsh uses a computer voice synthesizer to brief Riley's team.
* RuleOfThrees
-->'''Giles:''' I need you to take Spike for a few days.
-->'''Xander:''' What?!
-->'''Spike:''' What?!
-->'''Anya:''' What?!
* ScreamingWoman: For once, this is effective.
* SecretIdentity: Buffy and Riley [[InternalReveal discover the truth about each other]].
* ShipperOnDeck: Willow for Buffy/Riley. "Do I have to tie you two together? I need my vicarious smoochies!"
* ShutUpKiss: InvertedTrope -- Buffy complains to Willow that every time she feels ready to kiss Riley [[GibberishOfLove she starts babbling]]. When they two of them meet for the first time after losing their voices, they quickly have their FirstKiss.
* SilenceIsGolden: "Hush" is without dialogue for over 27 minutes straight, nearly two thirds of the episode.
* SimpleStaff: Riley's expandable baton.
* SkewedPriorities: Buffy is indignant that Giles' drawing of her is too fat.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Giles plays ''Danse Macabre'' during his NightmareFuelColoringBook lecture.
* StaticStunGun / LightningGun: Riley's taser blaster.
* StuntDouble: Lampshaded by Creator/JossWhedon in the DVDCommentary.
--> "Oh, looks like Buffy's got her [[BoobsOfSteel fightin' boobs]] on!"
* TheTapeKnewYouWouldSayThat: Giles uses an overhead projector and pre-written transparencies to brief the Scooby Gang on the Gentlemen. At one point, Buffy and Willow mime separate suggestions of how to dispose of the Gentlemen, and Giles immediately displays transparencies explaining why the plans wouldn't work. Not quite a straight example, though, since Giles is visibly annoyed that they interrupted him to ask the obvious questions instead of just letting him go to his next slide.
* TalkAboutThatThing: Willow [[ShipperOnDeck leaving Buffy alone with Riley]].
* TheBigDamnKiss: Anya and Xander have one after he confirms he really does care about her, Riley and Buffy share one just before they part again to try to stop people from panicking/rioting.
* ThereWasADoor: Buffy enters the clock tower by smashing through a boarded up window.
* TheThingThatWouldNotLeave: Spike eats Giles' entire supply of Weetabix, and no-one wants him around when they're having a shag.
* TooMuchInformation: Giles having to listen to Anya and Xander discuss their sex life. Spike mixing his blood with Weetabix.
* TwistedAnkle: Willow running from the Gentlemen, but played more subtly than other examples of this trope.
* TwoScenesOneDialogue: Repeatedly done between the Scoobies and the Initiative:
-->'''Buffy''': (to Willow) I wish I could just come clean.
-->SmashCut to '''Forrest''': (to Riley) Well, you can't.
** And after everyone loses their voices...
-->'''Buffy''': (writes) Keep researching. I should be in town tonight.
-->'''Giles''': (mouths) Why?
-->SmashCut to '''Walsh''': (computer voice) Because there will be chaos.
* UnusualEuphemism
-->'''Giles:''' I have a friend who's coming to town and I'd like us to be alone.
-->'''Anya:''' Oh you mean an orgasm friend?
-->'''Giles:''' Yes that's exactly the most appalling thing you could have said.
* VerbalBackspace: Sunnydale authorities have issued a statement... that is, a written statement...
* ViolentlyProtectiveGirlfriend: Riley breaks up two men about to have a fight. One picks up a pipe to take a swing at Riley who has his back to him, only for Buffy to walk up and coldly snap his wrist [[OffhandBackhand without even looking at him]].
* VisualInnuendo: Buffy's hand signal for "staking" which looks just like ADateWithRosiePalms. Anya's gesture to Xander, on the other hand, leaves [[IntercourseWithYou absolutely no room for ambiguity]].
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: Buffy and Riley were originally going to make love in this episode, but Joss Whedon realized it was too soon for them.
* YourDoorWasOpen: Anya barges into Giles' home as per usual.
-->'''Giles:''' [[SarcasmMode Thank you for knocking]].
* YouSquared: Done silently between Buffy and Riley, on finding themselves at taser/crossbow point.
* YourHeadAsplode: What happens to the Gentlemen when Buffy screams.