Punching out Amy's abusive mother and deflecting her curse back at her. If nothing else, this is awesome owing as to how satisfying it was.
Just come back to life and hunting down the Master, Buffy's Power Walk set to the theme song definitely counts too.
"You have fruit punch mouth."
"There's scarier things than you, and I'm one of them." Spoken by Buffy as a vampire. To a creature with a club arm that had already beaten her down and forced her to run instead of continuing to fight.
The earliest awesome Willow moment was in season 1 when she got Cordelia, who was talking shit about Buffy, to destroy the program she made for computer class by telling her to press "Deliver" (DEL).
Willow has had a huge crush on Xander since they were kids. In "The Pack", Xander has been posessed by a hyena spirit, turning him into a predatory bully. Xander has been captured and locked up, and lays on the charm trying to get Willow to let him out. As soon as she comes within reach, he lunges at her and she deftly dodges out of the way, now knowing for certain she can't trust him (for the duration of his posession).
Cordelia driving to the library in the Season One finale.
Okay, that needs more of a description because this one doesn't do it justice: several members of the Scooby Gang are outside the school and surrounded by the Master'sMooks, when Cordelia suddenly shows up out of nowhere in her car and yells at them to get in. She then drives them to the (relatively) safe(r) library, where they prepare to be sieged by the vamps. Now, bear in mind that at this point, Cordelia wasn't really a part of the group, and didn't even really like any of them, but she did all this anyway.
To clarify a bit: The library is in the middle of the school and she drives INTO THE LIBRARY.
Also worth note, in The Witch Cordelia's driving teacher references her taking Driver's Ed repeatedly, and in Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight Cordelia herself mentions a time she ran over a biker. She is a terrible driver, but managed to get everyone in safely.
The Master killing Buffy twice. Even if she came Back from the Dead it's an impressive accomplishment.
In "Bad Eggs", when Buffy climbs out of the Mother Bezoar she has just killed, covered in goo, and gives Lyle Gorch a glare that sends him running.
(Up until this point in the episode, Lyle had made a point of saying "This ain't/isn't over" to Buffy every time he retreated)
[Buffy crawls out, gives Lyle a look]
Lyle: "All right. It's over."
Buffy confronting Jenny in "Innocence". Having just recovered from her Heroic BSOD, Buffy walks into school, goes straight to Jenny's classroom, grabs Jenny by the neck and slams her down onto her desk in front of Giles and the entire class.
On the DVD commentary, Joss' comment for this scene is "I love how violent this is."
"Innocence" reminds this troper why he used to like this show.
Judge: Fool! No weapon forged can defeat me!
Buffy: That was then. [takes out the rocket launcher] This is now.
Drusilla and Angel run for cover as the Judge looks blankly.
Judge: What's that do?
And Buffy's reaction to killing what it took an army to take down before? "Best present ever."
A little later in the same episode, there's the spectacular, vicious, emotional battle between Angelus and Buffy that sees Buffy finally holding a stake over Angelus, frozen in hesitation, unable to kill him, and as he gloats...
Angelus: (chuckling) You can't do it. You can't kill me.
Buffy: (delivers possibly the most satisfying Groin Attack on all network television, which leaves Angelus paralysed on the floor in breathless agony, and walks away without looking back) Give me time.
Buffy vs Angelus in "Becoming, Part 2"
Angelus: That's everything. No weapons... no friends... no hope. Take all that away, and what's left?
Angry!Willow is always awesome. When she screams "HEEEEEEEEYYYYYYY!!", everyone cowers before her, including Giles and Angel.
The entire episode of "Halloween" from S2. When Buffy is turned into a helpless 18th-century woman and Willow becomes a ghost, he becomes a badass M16-wielding, fatigues-wearing soldier. In the course of about twenty minutes he gets to kick monster ass, rock-and-roll with an M16, beat up a jock-turned-pirate who constantly picks on him, impress the resident hot airhead cheerleader, and even stand up to Spike.
"Killed by Death":
Angelus: If I decide to walk into Buffy's room, do you think for one microsecond that you could stop me?
Xander: Maybe not. Maybe that security guard couldn't either. Or those cops... or the orderlies... But I'm kinda curious to find out. You game?
Angelus: Buffy's White Knight. You still love her. It must just eat you up that I got there first.
Xander: You're gonna die. And I'm gonna be there.
Angelus: Tell her I stopped by.
(And then Angelus, the vampire who slaughtered nuns for fun, took on Holtz, and God knows who else, WALKED AWAY!)
The first time Ethan shows up, we haven't really seen much evidence of Giles' Former Teen Rebel self. So when he shows up in Ethan's shop and proceeds to absolutely kick his ass— in a state of Tranquil Fury no less— it is both unexpected and amazing.
While wrestling a vampire, Giles gets a crossbow bolt to the back. His reaction? He rips it out and stabs the vampire in the heart with it.
Some cheered when Giles went after Angelus and company singlehandedly. With a flaming baseball bat. Remember that at this point, the Big Bad is a two hundred year old vampire who even the Master and the (literally invincible) Mayor were afraid of. And considering that Giles has no super powers, spends his days in a library and has pretty much been the Useless Mentor up until his girlfriend dies, that's saying a lot about his badass level. The Badass Scale officially exploded at this point, even if Angelus recovers a minute later.
Another awesome thing about the scene is how Spike restrains Drusilla from rushing to Angelus' aid, and just sits there with a little smirk on his face watching the flaming baseball bat hit Angelus in the head over and over.
In "Becoming, Part 2", after Angelus has been torturing him for information on how to waken Acanthla, Giles appears to be about to crack...and then comes out with this line:
Giles: In order...to be worthy...you must perform the ritual...in a tutu.
Then he glares Angelus down. And calls him a pillock.
Give Tony Head his props; when he has to whip out a range of emotions and characteristics in The Dark Age... he's amazing.
Spike gets one at the end of "I Only Have Eyes For You", after Angelus has dissed him for the thousandth time (and having sex with Drusilla) while he's been crippled, Spike waits for Angelus to leave, stands up out of his wheelchair and kicks it aside. He follows that by promising to bide his time and wait for the right moment to royally fuck Angelus up. Makes good on it in the season finale when he beats Angelus with a tire iron. It's a bad idea to piss Spike off, even if you're the season's Big Bad.
Cordelia snaps at Harmony in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered":
CORDELIA: Harmony, shut up. Do you know what you are, Harmony? You're a sheep.
Spike: Er... You hit me with an axe one time. Remember, er, "get the hell away from my daughter"?
Joyce: Oh. So, do you live here in town?
Killing the vamp from "Helpless" by switching his water with holy water. Made more impressive how smart and creative it is since she is completely powerless against an insanely psychotic vampire who already has her mother locked up. Said vampire had also killed two people who worked for The Council prior.
Buffy gets a Moment Of Awesome, as well as a CMOF and CMOH, in The Prom. Hurting from Angel breaking up with her, she is disinterested in a student, Tucker, training hell hounds to attack the prom, until the Scoobies begin getting scared and upset about their night being ruined, driving Buffy to action.
"You guys are gonna have a prom. The kind of prom everyone should have. I will give you all a nice, fun, normal evening... if I have to kill every single person on the face of the Earth to do it."
The script says Buffy is looking determined. Full of new purpose. And a little bit crazed, which Xander comments on.
Later, after finding Tucker, we get this exchange.
Willow: We can't just leave you, Buff-
Giles: Buffy, they're right. You need-
Buffy: To see tail lights. Hit the door. I've got everything under control.
In "Doppelgangland", she enters an entire bar full of vampires dressed as her ruthless vampire alternate universe self and attempts to bluff the entire group into believing she's an evil, murdering vampire; successfully, until Anya intervenes.
Vamp Willow getting the vamps who attacked her to work for her.
Vamp!Willow: (after beating down the two vampires and putting one in an armlock) You made me cranky.
Minion Vamp: There must be a mistake. We were sent after a human!
Vamp!Willow: Who do you work for?
Minion Vamp: I'm not tellin' you a thing!
Vamp!Willow: *snaps one of his fingers* Who do you work for?
Minion Vamp: Aggh! Wilkins! The Mayor!
Vamp!Willow: *breaks another finger* Who do you work for?
Minion Vamp: ... you.
Earlier in the episode Snyder gets Willow to tutor a student. Said student goes after her when she's at the Bronze rather than doing all the work for him. Slight problem is this is Vamp!Willow.
"Bored now." She flips him onto a pool table then leans in to his neck. "I'm having a terrible night. Wanna make it better?"
Willow's rant to Faith in "Choices":
Faith: Give me the speech again, please. "Faith, we're still your friends. We can help you. It's not too late."
Willow: It's way too late. You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life. I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you! You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends in your life like Buffy. Now you have no one. You were a slayer and now you're nothing. You're just a big, selfish, worthless waste.
And note that Willow says that when she's all alone in the center of the Big Bad's minion-filled stronghold, before she has any useful combat magic, and while facing the knife-wielding evil superpowered Faith.
She liked Faith, at first. She then learns Xander slept with her. Then she learned that she attempted to rape and murder him. At the very least Dark Willow had some right to say this to Faith years later.
Of course, why is Willow in a position to say that to Faith? Because she got captured. But then she kills the vampire guarding her and has an opportunity to escape. So what does she do? She doesn't escape, she finds the Mayor's office and studies the Books of Ascension, nabbing the most informative pages for Giles to study.
She knew full well her friends would rescue her and decided to be proactive with pep; she took advantage of the situation and used her abilities to the utmost. Shit damn but that's awesome.
Thats one way to see it. The other is that she is just too curious about dark magic, a trait that will lead to many other, much less cool complications later. Also, it should be noted that at the time she finds the books, she doesnt really know a safe way to escape. There could be guards pretty much anywhere.
Not only does she kill the vampire guarding her, she does it by levitating a pencil behind him and driving it through his heart when he's got her backed up against the wall and is about to drink her blood.
The above speech from 'Choices'? Is Willow's second-best speech from that episode. Here's the best one, from where Willow reveals to Buffy that she's chosen to go to college at UC Sunnydale.
Buffy: I can't believe it! Are you serious? Ah, wait, what am I saying? You can't.
Willow: What do you mean, I can't?
Buffy: I won't let you.
Willow: Of the two people here, which is the boss of me?
Buffy: There are better schools.
Willow: Sunnydale's not bad. And I can design my own curriculum.
Buffy: Okay, well, there are safer schools. There are safer prisons. I can't let you stay because of me.
Willow: Actually, this isn't about you. Although I'm fond, don't get me wrong. The other night, you know, being captured and all, facing off with Faith. Things just, kind of, got clear. I mean, you've been fighting evil here for three years, and I've helped some, and now we're supposed to decide what we want to do with our lives. And I just realized that that's what I want to do. Fight evil, help people. I mean, I think it's worth doing. And I don't think you do it because you have to. It's a good fight, Buffy, and I want in.
This commenter considers Xander's line "I like the quiet" from "The Zeppo" to be pretty awesome, but apparently the writers and fans largely disagree.
If that wasn't Xander's crowning moment of badassery, I don't know what is.
Agree wholeheartedly. That line, and that episode, are Xander's crowning moment.
Xander's the key guy, because he's the one who can bring the entire school together to fight the Mayor's doomy legion of dooming. He's got an in with the jocks (Larry, the swim team), the popular crowd (the Cordettes), and all the outcasts, because of all his tireless legwork for Buffy. And liplocking with Cordy.
Angel cracking Faith's head open with a shovel as she was raping and killing Xander.
When Angel reveals that he's been pretending to have lost his soul:
Faith: What can I say, I'm the world's best actor.
In Dead Man's Party, Giles threatens Principal Snyder to let Buffy back in school. He's wearing Ripper's little smile, the one that says, "Please give me an excuse to hurt you, you tiny slug of a man."
Snyder: I'm not convinced.
Giles: *slams Snyder against a cupboard* Would you like me to convince you?
There's Mayor Wilkens, right, who's invincible, on the verge of ascending into a giant snake, and he's come to threaten the Scoobies in the library. When he menaces that he's going to kill Buffy, Giles stabs him through the chest with a saber. Being invincible and all, it only offends The Mayor that Giles would use violence, but it still shows him as a BadassPapa Wolf.
And no, this time it wasn't his Ripper persona briefly re-emerging. That was Mr. Giles, the Watcher-who-just-got-fired-from-the-Council-because-of-his-paternal-love-and-protectiveness-of-his-Slayer. If you're going to poke that bear you'd better have some invincibility mojo going on.
Though the "Fool For Love" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a good latter-day attempt, Spike gets his in the final scene of "Lover's Walk" where, after a montage of every other character's brooding Wangst, you see him in his car streaking off into the desert sun to find Drusilla, rocking out to the Sex Pistols' version of "My Way".
Spike's deconstruction of Angel and Buffy's relationship in "Lover's Walk" needs to be quoted:
Spike: You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood — blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it.
Season 3, episode 4: "Beauty and The Beasts". Jealous boyfriend Pete confronts Oz, who's locked in the book cage, about Debbie. Oz tries to warn Pete away by saying that something is about to happen that Pete "probably won't believe", then Pete morphs into Hyde-Pete and lays a smackdown on Oz for several minutes. At one point, Oz manages to put a bit of space between them, and he looks out the window to see the sun dip below the horizon. Cue Moment Of Awesome: "Time's up. Rules change." Were-Oz proceeds to unleash a full-fledged wolf-fu style asskicking that only ends, fortunately for Pete, when Oz gets distracted and tries to attack Willow and Faith.
In "Choices", when Willow gets taken by Faith, Buffy wants to trade the Box of Gavrok for her best friend. Wesley refuses to let her do this because it's exchanging thousands of lives for one person, and everyone present - Wesley, Buffy, Giles, Xander, even Angel - begin shouting their opinions, standing around arguing. Oz, after wordlessly staring at Wesley through his speech, calmly stands up, walks over the vase he and Xander prepared for the Box-destroying ritual, grabs the pedestal, and sends the entire thing flying into the wall, smashing it to pieces. It's quickly decided afterwards to trade the Box for Willow.
Cordelia facing down Lyle Gorch in "Homecoming", where she delivers an absolutely unforgettable (and incredibly ballsy) monologue.
Cordelia: (You're going to) Rip out my innards, play with my eyeballs, boil my brain and eat it for brunch? Listen up, needle-brain. Buffy and I have taken out four of your cronies, not to mention your girlfriend.
Cordelia Whatever. The point is, I haven't even broken a sweat. See, in the end, Buffy's just the runner-up. I'm the Queen. You get me mad, (gets in his face and glares at him) what do you think I'm gonna do to you?
Keep in mind that Lyle thought Cordelia was a slayer in this scene, and she was playing to that misconception. In other words, bluffing her ass off - which, in some people's opinions, makes it even more awesome.
As proved in Angel, Cordy's acting chops come through when it really, really matters.
Killing the vampire who killed her Watcher with a really large stake.
Having learnt that Scott has dumped Buffy, Faith goes in to bat for her, grossing out his current girl with claims of having several STDs. Buffy's other friends...do sweet jack all.
The Mayor was back to back awesome, even if not a badass as we'd call it now. His crowning moment, however, was probably killing the definition of Asshole Victim, Pricipal Snyder.
Shrugging off being stabbed in the back by Giles. He had invincibility, but still. It takes balls for a man to stay completely calm, if offended.
Jonathan staying to fight the zombies in "Dead Man's Party". That took a lot of cojones from someone like him.
The Season 3 finale, where the entire graduating class pulls out weapons and does a human wave attack on the Big Bad.
How about the season 4 opener "The Freshman"? Buffy punches the vampire that earlier kicked her ass across the room with her broken arm, before turning around to casually chat to her friends, throwing a stake over her shoulder and straight into its heart - all because Sunday (the vampire) had broken her 'Class Protector' trophy.
Buffy: And for the record, the arm is hurt. (*thwack*) It's not broken.
Buffy blocking Adam's bullets after the Scoobies possess her. You can just taste his fear when he says "Interesting". Before turning Adam's rocket projectile into birds using the power of all the Scoobies.
"I walk. I talk. I shop. I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees in the desert since you moved out, and I don't sleep on a bed of bones. Now give me back my friends!"
Knocking out Parker with a piece of wood at the end of "Beer Bad".
Buffy taking out two powerful demons barehanded after Professor Walsh sends her into a trap. Followed by this equally awesome Badass Boast once Buffy finds the camera in the trap, said on monitors in the Inititave HQ just as Walsh finished telling Riley about Buffy's "death":
Buffy: That simple little recon you sent me on wasn't a recon. Turns out it was me trapped in the sewers with a faulty weapon and two of your pet demons. If you think that's enough to kill me, you really don't know what a Slayer is. Trust me when I say you're gonna find out.
When Parker breaks up with Buffy after a one night stand Willow goes to tear him a new one. He starts putting the moves on her, and she plays along a bit, before rocking him by seeing through his act.
This was on CMOF, but it's worth repeating here.
Willow: Keep eye contact. Funny is good, but don't be glib. And remember, if you hurt her, I will beat you to death with a shovel.
(Riley looks back at her, very surprised)
Willow: A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend. Have fun.
Xander's off-hand comment about combining Giles' brains and Willow's magic with Buffy was what inspired Giles to do just that.
Also, the fact that Xander was the heart of the spell.
That speech he gave to Buffy after she briefly lost her self-esteem early in the season.
The frat house sealed Buffy and friends inside and their worst fears are coming true (again)? All the doors and windows have vanished? Frat house, meet Giles. With a chainsaw.
Giles: We'll need to make a door
Anya: You can do that?
Giles:(pulls a chainsaw out of his bag) I can.
Giles' "Exposition Song" in "Restless", aided by ASH having a really good singing voice.
"...and try not to bleed on my couch/I just had it steam-cleeeeeaned..."
Spike's escape from the Initiative was pretty freaking cool.
"I'm back! And I'm a bloody ANIMAL!" Bonus points for wearing a tacky Hawaiian shirt and still sounding awesome.
Another great Spike moment: in season 4 when rogue slayer Faith wakes up from her coma, the group goes searching for her. Giles and Xander run into Spike, and describe the situation, and Faith. Spikes response "Tell you what I'll do then. I'll head out, find this girl... tell her exactly where all of you are and watch as she kills you." Xander and Giles look at each other in confusion. Spike continues, "Can any one of your damn little Scooby club at least try to remember that I HATE YOU all?" When Xander tries to retort that Spike doesn't even know what Faith looks like, Spike calmly recites Xander's physical description: "Dark hair, this tall, name of Faith, criminally insane. Like this girl already." as he walks off. Xander and Giles are left behind, utterly dumbstruck, until all Xander can say is "We're dumb."
"Where The Wild Things Are" was probably the worst episode of the season, but Anya was well and truly awesome and we saw what she would do when Xander was in danger. She charged up the stairs telling the screeching poltergeists who want to kill her to, "Shut up, repressed crybabies!" They responded by making a vine [don't ask] go straight through the palm of her hand, so she pulled it out without even a second of hesitation, and continued fighting her way up to bathroom to stop them drowning her boyfriend.
Punching Parker in the face when the latter starts making unpleasant remarks about Buffy.
It takes a special kind of soldier to rip out a programming chip embedded in his own chest, and Riley shows off his steel-plated testicles by using broken glass to do it.
Confronting Buffy on campus in "This Year's Girl".
Her in Buffy's body telling a bunch of vamps holding a congregation hostage that what they're doing is wrong... and meaning it.
Harmony driving away Spike in "Pangs"
No! I'm strong and I'm beautiful and I don't need you to complete me. (pulls out stake) And you're mean!.
The episode "Checkpoint," where after a full episode of being made to feel inferior by the Zen Survivor Watcher's Council, the ditziest Big Bad ever to appear on the show, and a crazy Knights Templar army of Well-Intentioned Extremists, Buffy gives a perfectly calm, almost deadpan set of demands to the council's lead Deadpan Snarker, punctuated by a thrown broadsword. This troper's roommates' ears are still ringing from his cheering. The scene in all its awesomeness:
Quentin Travers: "We can begin the review at last. We'll skip the more obvious questions-"
Buffy: [places sword over his notes] "There isn't gonna be a review."
Buffy: "No review. No interrogation. No questions you know I can't answer. No hoops, no jumps, [Nigel opens his mouth to speak, Buffy turns to him] and no interruptions. [begins pacing] See, I've had a lot of people talking at me the last few days. Everyone just lining up to tell me how unimportant I am. And I've finally figured out why. Power. I have it. They don't. This bothers them. ...Glory came to my home today."
Giles: "Buffy, are you-?"
Buffy: "Just to talk. She told me I'm a bug, I'm a flea, she could squash me in a second. Only she didn't. She came into my home and we talked. We had, what in her warped brain, probably passes for a civilized conversation. Why? Because she needs something from me. Because I have power over her. You guys didn't come all the way from England to determine whether or not I was good enough to be let back in. You came to beg me to let you back in. To give your jobs, your lives, some semblance of meaning."
Nigel: "This is beyond insolence-"
Buffy: [flings broadsword, which just barely misses him] "I'm fairly certain I said no interruptions."
Xander: [whispers] "That was excellent."
Buffy: "You're Watchers. Without a Slayer, you're pretty much just watching Masterpiece Theatre. You can't stop Glory. You can't do anything with the information you have, except maybe publish it in the Everyone Thinks We're Insane-O's Home Journal. So here's how it's gonna work. You're gonna tell me everything you know. And then you're gonna go away. You'll contact me if and when you have any further information about Glory. The Magic Shop will remain open. Mr Giles will stay here as my official Watcher, reinstated at full salary-"
Giles: [coughs] "Retroactive."
Buffy: "-To be paid retroactively from the month he was fired. I will continue my work with the help of my friends-"
Lydia: "I-I-I... don't want a sword thrown at me, but-but civilians, I - we're talking about children."
Buffy: "We're talking about two very powerful witches and a thousand-year-old ex-demon."
Anya: "Willow's a demon?!"
Phillip: "And the boy? No power there."
Buffy: "The boy has clocked more field time than all of you combined. He's part of the unit."
Willow: [whispers] "That's Riley-speak."
Xander: [whispers back, grinning] "I've clocked field time."
Buffy: "You all may be very good at your jobs. The only way we're gonna find out is if you work with me. You can all take your time thinking about that. But I want an answer right now from Quentin, 'cause I think he's understanding me."
The fact that Buffy went toe to toe with Glory as often as she did. She may have gotten her ass kicked nearly every time but she was facing off against a living god with just her Slayer powers. Of course that made it beyond amazing when she finally wiped the floor with Glory in the final.
Let's not forget Buffy sacrificing herself. Like the tombstone said: She saved the world. A lot.
Buffy wiping out the vampire brothel gang in just a few seconds. Probably just as well she didn't take up Riley's invitation to work out her anger on him.
The show gets a meta-example in that any other show would have made a big stunt out of Willow and Tara's first kiss, if they let it in at all. This got put in in a completely natural way, and not sexualized.
The moment is especially awesome as it's the first time anybody has hurt Glory, at all. If Willow hadn't burned through her power so quickly, who knows what she could have done?
Buffy's pretty good at punching out vampires, demons and the Big Bad. Willow punches outgods.
Another great Willow moment was in the previous episode, "The Weight of the World". With Dawn kidnapped by Glory, Buffy catatonic, and Tara having lost her mind, Willow's finally had enough when Xander and Spike start fighting. After forcing them apart with magic, she takes charge, berating them. The entire time her voice is nearly deadpan, but containing a fury that leaves even Anya and Spike afraid to piss her off.
Willow: Buffy's out. Glory has Dawn. Sometime real soon, she's gonna use Dawn to tear down the barrier between every dimension there is. So if you two wanna fight, do it after the world ends, okay? All right. First we head back to Sunnydale. Xander'll take Giles to a hospital. Anya's looking after Tara. And Spike, you find Glory. Check her apartment, see if she's still there. Try anything stupid, like payback, and I will get Very Cranky. (looks at them) Everyone clear?
Willow: Spike was right. Snap out of it! What you're going through right now? It's called guilt. It's an emotion, and it's important, but it's not more than that. Buffy, you have had the weight of the world on your shoulders since high school, and for one second you wanted it to be over. So what?!
Buffy: I killed Dawn.
Willow: Hello, your sister? Not dead yet! But she will be soon, if you don't come back to us.
Buffy: What if I can't?
Willow: Then I guess you're right. You really did kill your sister. [turns to walk away]
Buffy: Where are you going?
Willow: Where you're needed. You coming?
Willow got a Crowning Moment in the Season 5 finale, when Glory, noticing Tara (who had been driven insane by her) wandering around amongst her minions and contemptuously asking her "What are you doing here?", Willow calmly walks up beside her and replies in a tone somehow both deadpan and with barely suppressed rage "She's with me", before grabbing Glory's head and sucking away all of the energy keeping her mentally composed and redirecting it to Tara, thus simultaneously and instantly healing her lover and blasting a hellgod across a construction yard, significantly weakened.
Despite being taunted by Spike for being utterly normal, and thus utterly useless in a fight (specifically, Spike calls Xander a "glorified bricklayer", to which Xander responds weakly, "I'm also a pretty good bowler"), Xander accompanies the rest of the gang to the construction-site lair of Glory the Hell-God. And at a critical moment in the fight, he knocks the Glory through a wall with a wrecking ball.
Xander: "And the glorified bricklayer picks up the spare."
The episode "Tough Love" has one of Giles' best Moment Of Awesome. After finding one of Glory's minions spying on them, Giles tells Anya and Willow to get twine to tie him up, and proceeds to engage in off screen violence. The minion quickly decides singing like a canary to be the wiser of the two options. Best part? When asked what happened, Giles/Ripper cooly responds with, "He changed his mind."
Immediately preceding making him talk, Giles reveals that he's known the whole time that the minion was spying on them, keeping up a conversation with Willow and making her feel better about herself after a fight with Tara, then wrenches open and slams the door so hard he knocks the minion unconscious.
Personally I'd consider Giles' crowning moment to be when he killed Ben/Glory. That was so ridiculously badass.
It may be a bit morbid, but what Giles says to Ben at the end of "The Gift" (just before his Shoot the Dog moment) sticks out in this editor's mind for sheer badass content.]
Giles: ...[Buffy] couldn't take a human life. She's a hero, you see. She's not like us.
The episode "Fool for Love" is Spike's Crowning Moment. An entire episode of Spike taunting and jeering as he explains his history, and tells Buffy in extensive detail how he brutally killed two of her predecessors.
Spike: The first was all business but the second, she had a touch of your style. She was cunning, resourceful... oh, did I mention? Hot. I could have danced all night with that one.
Buffy: You think we're dancing?
Spike: That's all we've ever done. And the thing about the dance is, you never get to stop. Every day you wake up, it's the same bloody question that haunts you: is today the day I die? Death is on your heels, baby, and sooner or later it's gonna catch you. And part of you wants it. Not only to stop the fear and uncertainty, but because you're just a little bit in love with it. Death is your art. You make it with your hands, day after day. That final gasp. That look of peace. Part of you is desperate to know: What's it like? Where does it lead you? And now you see, that's the secret. Not the punch you didn't throw or the kicks you didn't land. Every Slayer... has a death wish. Even you. The only reason you've lasted as long as you have is you've got ties to the world... your mum, your brat kid sister, the Scoobies. They all tie you here but you're just putting off the inevitable. Sooner or later, you're gonna want it. And the second- the second- that happens...you know I'll be there. I'll slip in... have myself a real good day.
He didn't have a good day. He promised Buffy and himself that he would enjoy her dying, and it destroyed him. Joss Whedon, you Bastard
Spike had more than his fair share, but that's what happens when you're the Bad Ass Longcoat.
Buffy: What are you doing here? [Spike begins to answer] Five words or less.
Spike: [Pauses, then, counting on his fingers] Out... for... a... walk. [Pauses again] ...Bitch.
"Intervention". Spike gets tortured by a hellgod that no one has been able to beat, and the only thing he has to do to save himself pain is tell Glory where the Key is. And he doesn't do it. Because he couldn't hurt the real Buffy by betraying Dawn.
Not to mention he escapes by himself. When the scoobies show he just has to figure out how he's getting out the elevator, past the henchmen and to his crypt, in broad daylight. Notably the scooby gang showed up to kill him before he could talk.
Spike's contribution to protecting Tara from her family in 'Family' was awesome in its fast-thinking and unorthodox creativity. When Tara's father contemptiously calles her something akin to a demon-spawn, Spike walks up to Tara and punches her in the nose. How can punching a girl be a Moment Of Awesome? Because it triggers Spike's shock-chip, prooving that Tara is actually human. Which means that Spike not only promptly worked out how his curse could for once prove usefull but also volunteered to suffer another fit of head-splitting pain just to help a human.
Glory appears at the park, and grabs her hand, probably breaking it - at any rate you can see that Tara's in serious pain - but Glory threatens the people around them if Tara draws attention, so she keeps quiet. Then Glory demands to know where Dawn is, threatening Tara with terrifyingly described insanity if she doesn't tell...and again, she keeps quiet, apparently because she'd take anything rather than let someone else be hurt.
Anya: But I don't understand, I don't understand how this all happens, how we go through this. I mean I knew her, and now she's...there's just a body, and I don't understand how come she just can't get back in it and not be dead anymore. It's stupid! It's mortal and it's stupid! And Xander's crying and not talking, and I was having fruit punch and I was thinking that well, Joyce will never have fruit punch, ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.
This is the only moment on television to make this (male) troper cry. Twice.
In "The Gift", Anya tries to keep everyone going with forced optimism and keeps trying to get the group to think of ideas. Spike and Giles are annoyed by her and rudely tell her to think of something herself. Without missing a beat, she comes up with the Dagon Sphere and Olaf's Hammer, two artifacts that made a huge difference in the fight with Glory.
Aborting the resurrection spell in "Forever", pulling Buffy from the brink of accepting a zombified Joyce as her mother.
Taking down a vamp nest by himself using a grenade.
Not to mention first staking the vampire who nearly killed Buffy with the stake he'd earlier taken from Buffy.
The Scoobies facing down Tara's family in "Family".
Except for Spike, who makes a point, as everyone else is doing their "You'll hafta go through ME first" routine, of saying "You won't hafta go through me, I don't really care". (And then Xander emphasizes: "You'll have to go through all of us... except Spike.")
Though Spike did do his bit when he strikes Tara, proving that she's entirely human due to him feeling pain via the chip in his brain (not a pleasant thing). He didn't have to do it, the family was already on the debate's losing end... One can't help but feel that despite still being (mostly) evil, his not caring was coming to be a state of denial by this point (well, that or simple spite for the sortof people the McClays seem to be. Either way, it's a pretty cool moment.)
Should be noted this is taking place at the end of an episode in which Tara is painfully aware that she doesn't quite 'fit in' with the group.
Tara's Father: We are her blood kin! Who the hell are you?
Buffy: We're family.
I'm not sure this was intentional, but I and my inner feminist found Harmony's speech to Spike in Crush, coupled with her shooting him with a crossbow, pure, utter, awesome.
What about me, Spike? You forget about me again? The actual girlfriend? I gave you the best ... bunch of months of my life! I thought I could change you, Spike. I thought maybe if I gave and I gave and gave, maybe you'd come around. Maybe be a little nicer. Stop treating me like your dog. But now I see it's you. You're the dog. Who needs to be put down.
The scientist pretending to remove Spike's chip by first distracting Harmony.
Killing the monster in "Normal Again" by punching through its chest.
In one corner we have Buffy, the slayer, the embodiment of female empowerment. In the other, Warren, the ultimate misogynist who's made himself invincible. The winner?
It should be noted that these two magic orbs in a pocked at his girdle have been what made Warren invincible, and Jonathan moments before had faked an attack on Buffy, whispering to her to destroy these orbs, probably because he didnt wanted Buffy to die. So yeah, while a cool dialogue, Buffy definitely had some help here.
Willow summoned this otherworldly being to try to resurrect Tara but he gave a huff about how she died by human means. Willow screamed at the thing and you can tell that she hurt it.
To clarify, that was Osiris, Egyptian god of the dead. Once again, Willow attacked a god and hurt it.
Giles's return to Season 6: "I'd like to test that theory" had viewers cheering. This was after Willow's boast that no one can stop her, and Giles promptly proves her wrong.
Personally, I thought Spike fighting to earn his soul back, throwing away a lifestyle he'd kept for centuries, knowing he had little to no chance with Buffy despite that, is one of the most Bad Ass things someone can do. Love, man. It conquers all.
Spike staring down the demon biker as it bears down on him and moving like a matador to steal the bike.
Saving Willow from a biker demon in season 6 episode 2 by burying an axe in his back.
"No one touches my girl!"
Standing up to Anya in "Older And Far Away." Anya is pushing Willow, who's trying to stay on the wagon, to use magic to get them out of Buffy's house, and Tara steps in.
"Hey! You're gonna back off! She said no, and that's it. You're not gonna make her do something that she doesn't want to. And if you try... You're gonna have to go through me first. Understood?"
Notable because not only are she and Willow broken up at this point in time, but it emphasizes just how far she's come from the shy girl who couldn't even get a sentence out when under scrutiny in her first appearance.
Season 6 finale, where Buffy and Dawn are fighting the earth monsters: Dawn takes a hit and goes down, losing her sword; Buffy sees her fall, but is unable to help. Then, just as the monster moves in for another attack on Dawn...she somersault-rolls past it (in a very Buffy-like move) and lands next to her sword—which she uses to decapitate the monster in a single stroke. Buffy can only stare in disbelief.
Dawn: (holding up the sword, tiny smile) What? You think I never watched you?
In "Two to Go": Jonathan's little speech to Andrew when Andrew is holding the sword to Xander's throat and Jonathan has a sword to Andrew's.
Buffy's speech at the end of "Bring On The Night", made all the more epic by the fact that when she makes this speech, she's battered and bruised, and manages to look the stronger for it.
Buffy killing Caleb with the scythe.
Caleb: You can't do it. You haven't got the ba-THWACK
The series finale: Buffy getting stabbed, collapsing onto the ground, taunted by The First Evil about the wound being mortal, then standing up and just ignoring it. "I want you to get out of my face." Incredibly Awesome Pun, anybody?
In addition, the fact that she gets up in slo-mo with that epic look on her face and the rousing music brewing in the background and then SLICES THREE TUROK-HAN OFF A CLIFF.
Joss Whedon: Sauron himself would be like "DUDE!"
"That's right. They're trapped. Terrified. Meat for the beast. That's all they've been doing for days - running away from an enemy that can't be killed. But, see, I don't believe that. I'm the Slayer. I always find a way. I'm the thing that nightmares have nightmares about. And right now, you and me are gonna show them why."
In the finale, Willow using her magic to unlock all the Potentials' powers, complete with white-haired glowing Willow, "Oh. My. Goddess.", and an appropriate summation when the spell is over and Willow flops to the floor, exhausted: "That was nifty."
Xander when comforting Dawn at the end of Potential.
Xander: You're not special. You're extraordinary.
Xander gets a series long Moment Of Awesome simply for surviving. Buffy's a slayer and she died, twice. Willow's a witch and the most powerful character on the show. Anya's a demon and she died. Spike's a vampire and he died. Xander's human, arguably not even a Badass Normal, and he's survived.
Angel appearing out of nowhere to save Buffy at the last moment from Caleb - with his show on a different television network.
The way he thwarts the attempt on his life is suitably awesome.
Crazy Spike embracing the cross.
Even if you weren't a Spuffy shipper you have to admit Spike being willing to go up in flames even when he knew she didn't return his feelings to save the day is awesome.
You mean, when he thought she didn't return his feelings.
When the First Evil is impersonating Drusilla to manipulate Crazy!Spike. He laughs at the First, declaring that she's not Dru... because she's not nearly crazy enough.
Spike's getting his ass kicked by a demon that he needs to kill to help Buffy. And he's laughing gleefully, clearly having more fun than he has all season. The demon pins him against a wall, and Spike simply snaps its neck before pulling out a cigarette. Lighting it with a match struck on the dead demons skin tops it all off amazingly.
I don't know your feelings, big guy. But to me, a tussle like that... *lights his smoke, takes a deep draw* is good for the soul.
Everybody should know how badly Buffy cracked after The First drove a potential to suicide. Basically, she goes beyond Drill Sergeant Nasty in an epic "everyone sucks but me" speech. Well later, when her arch nemesis Faith shows up, reformed, wanting to help and the potentials wanting her over Buffy she spits it and leaves. We gotta give Anya this for her thoughts.
" You missed her "everyone sucks but me" speech. If she's so superior, let her find her own way back."
Dawn to Spike in the second episode of Season Seven:
Dawn's speech to Amanda in "Potential", and the subsequent act of sheer guts when she hands over the stake to Amanda, while facing down a vampire and six Bringers.
Toward the end of season 7, Buffy sends Dawn out of town, getting Xander to pretty much kidnap her to keep her away from the apocalypse. Buffy leaves a touching letter with Xander for Dawn, she reads the note and we hear Buffy narrate what's written on the note - then the narration cuts off midway through, as Dawn tosses the note aside, tazes Xander, takes control of the car and turns right around to go back and fight the evil. And later surprised Buffy turns around to see angry Dawn (who's literally just walked up behind her). She stares at Dawn for a moment, then Dawn kicks her in the shin.
Which hurts Buffy, before Dawn calls her a dumbass. Considering her actions over the season this can be very cathartic.
The best bit of this is when you expect a ridiculous Buffy speech but she just says "...if you get killed, I'm telling."
Coming back to Sunnydale to fight evil, even knowing the reception she was apt to receive.
Telling off the Potentials after assuming leadership after Buffy leaves and telling them that they wanted her to lead, well, she's going to lead.
Depending on your view of Buffy's behaviour in Season 7, the potentials confronting her about her poor leadership and demanding she get on board or leave might be a collective Moment Of Awesome for the group.
And of course, the Potentials in the finale after getting full Slayer powers. Bonus points to Vi and Rona, the two girls who were most hesitant about fighting and were terrified more than anyone else; especially Vi. But when they get fully empowered? Vi guts several ubervamps with her knife in a whirling frenzy of destruction, and Rona kills a lot of them, with a broken arm, no less.
Caleb beating the shit out of the Scoobies in their first confrontation.
Amanda in Help seeks Buffy's advice on an abusive boyfriend...should she pound him into the pavement some more. As a long term Bully Hunter the question leaves Buffy speechless. Of course, Amanada turns out to be a Potential.
Faith killing two gargoyles, despite completely wrecking her hands.
Giles stabbing Roden with pruning shears, then killing him by opening a holding spell inside his body.
Buffy killing Sephrilian with a magical assist from Willow.
The "Wolves at the Gate" arc is made of awesome.
Toru managing to trick Dracula out of his powers and give them to his hundreds of Vampire mooks, steal the Scythe from Buffy, kill two Slayers, and very nearly succeed in his plan to depower the Slayer army.
Giant-Dawn vs. Mecha-Dawn in the middle of downtown Tokyo.
Especially Andrew's reaction to it. "One of my teammates is fighting a giant robot version of herself on the streets of Tokyo. I've been preparing for this moment my entire life."
Renee baiting out a vampire, who Buffy captures, douses in fuel, and threatens to set alight if he doesn't talk. She does so anyway after she's done with him, declaring war, because of the brutal murder of a Slayer (who herself earned a Moment Of Awesome for killing a bunch of powerful demons).
Buffy jumping off a skyscraper and dusting Kumiko before she could kill Willow.
Satsu staking Raidon right before he could kill Buffy.
Dracula utterly destroying Toru by cutting off his arms and a leg, followed by Xander doing an Unflinching Walk through the battlefield to take Dracula's sword from him and decapitate Toru in revenge for him killing Renee.
Xander threatening to kill Dracula if he ever calls him manservant again. And Dracula takes the threat seriously. Xander sure has come a long way, hasn't he?
Spike killing two slayers, especially Nikki Woods (sorry Robin).
Anytime Spike wins against the Scoobies in verbal arguments.
Joyce's life as the mother of the slayer, half of it completely unaware yet still completely supportive.
In the E-Comic "Harmony Comes to the Nation", Jane Espenson writes a Buffyverse-only one for... Stephen Colbert! It's a S8 tie-in. The plot? It's a two page comic showing an interview with Harmony after her show becomes big. Oh, and in his trademark style, points out her hypocrisy and stupidity.
A meta one for the animators. Computer effects on television are pretty standard nowadays, with a lot of sci-fi and fantasy shows relying heavily on CG effects to cut out the amount of money that would be spent on elaborate sets and practical effects. Buffy was one of the flagship shows for this, as can be seen if you watch the Season 3 extras. They were among the first shows ever to make use of full CGI on television as opposed to movies, notable examples being the dusting, the morphing and the two snake demons of S3. Without Buffy showing that it was possible and cost effective, television as we know it might have been radically different. It may look very much like a 1999 effect today, but back then it was truly incredible stuff being done on a three week production deadline.