Recap / Buffy the Vampire Slayer S4 E10 "Hush"

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

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/btvs_s4_ep10_hush.jpg

Professor Maggie Walsh is discussing communication in class and asks Buffy to come up to the front desk and lie down on it. Riley steps forward and kisses Buffy then the sun goes down. She goes into the hallway after hearing a young girl's voice. The girl stands holding a box and chanting a disturbing nursery rhyme.Buffy wakes up to see she's been dreaming in class. As they leave, Riley asks Buffy about her dream and they talk about their plans for the night. Both make up excuses as to why they're busy that evening and part ways, seemingly dissatisfied with how their courtship is going.

Giles receives a phone call from Buffy who relays the information from her dream. He begins researching into demons named The Gentlemen. Spike, meanwhile, makes himself very comfortable at Giles' apartment, complaining about there being no Weetabix left to eat. He claims he likes to add butcher's blood to it and repulses Giles with the mental image.Xander and Anya arrive, arguing about whether Xander really loves her or is only interested in her for sex. Her frank openness with the issue makes Giles uncomfortable and Spike laughs at Xander's situation.Giles informs Xander that he needs to keep Spike at his house for a while because an old girlfriend of his is visiting from England. None of them are particularly pleased with arrangement: Xander not trusting Spike around him or his friends without restraints and Spike not wanting to be around Xander and Anya; especially if they're intending to be intimate whilst he's in the room tied to a chair. The three argue back and forth with Giles in the middle.

Willow excitedly joins a Wiccan group but is disappointed by it as the girls there are only wannabe Wiccans with no knowledge of real magicks. When Willow mentions the 'wacky' possibility of performing spells, the leader of the group just ridicules her. However, whilst the rest of the group laugh, one girl named Tara becomes interested in Willow after her suggestion of performing actual magic. She tries to agree with Willow's suggestion but her shyness is intimidated by the others. Willow realises she's never going to learn anything in the group and talks to Buffy about it. Buffy complains about how slowly her relationship with Riley is progressing. Riley discusses the same thing with Forest; both concluding that the real reason they can't progress is due to them not revealing their true identities to each other.

The night before bed, Xander ties Spike to a chair as Spike exclaims that he wouldn't bite him even if he could. Spike begins imitating Anya and further annoys Xander.Meanwhile at Giles' apartment, his old girlfriend Olivia arrives and after a brief chat, the pair get straight to kissing.

At the clock tower, one of the Gentlemen opens a box and steals the voices from everyone in Sunnydale as they sleep.

When Buffy and Willow wake up the following morning and finding their voices have disappeared, they panic. Leaving their room, they see that nobody else in the dorms can speak either. Xander immediately blames Spike, whose gestured response is very clear. Riley and Forest try to enter the underground lab but Riley is unable to open the voice-activated doors. Professor Walsh lets them in, gesturing to them that they should have used the stairs.

Buffy and Willow walk through Sunnydale, armed with whiteboards to write down their thoughts. Sunnydale is completely closed down - apart from liquor stores. A man silently preaches the end of the world.

A television news reporter states that everyone in Sunnydale has come down with laryngitis and the town has been quarantined. Knowing trouble is looming that night, Buffy gets ready to patrol and Prof. Walsh sends Riley and a team out incognito to maintain order. Riley and Buffy meet in the street and as he's about to leave, Riley kisses Buffy for the first time.Later that night, the Gentlemen and their footmen lurk out into the night. Olivia wakes up in the night and spots one of them out of the window, floating. Two of the demons enter UC Sunnydale dorms and find a freshman boy. The demon assistants hold the boy down as one of the Gentlemen cut out his heart.

The next morning, Olivia draws a picture of the creature she saw. Giles sees in the paper that there was a similar murder the previous night and recognises what is happening. He puts aside his books of demons and pulls out volumes of fairy tales.

In a lecture room at the college, Giles shows the story of the Gentlemen using an overhead projector. They travel towns to collect seven human hearts, taking people's voices as well as this is the only thing that could kill them. They're immune to swords and stakes and only the sound of a real human voice - not a recorded one like Willow suggests- will kill them. The demons have taken two of the seven hearts they need already. Unfortunately, Giles doesn't know how to get the voices back. As everyone else begins researching, Buffy gears up to go patrolling. Riley does the same.

Tara from the Wiccan group tries to make it to Willow's dorm room as the Gentlemen chase her. She finally makes it and the two girls escape. Riley is attacked by the demon's assistants in the clock tower until Buffy shows up to fight against them. The two are at first shocked to see each other but they don't have time to talk about it.

Spike vamps out whilst drinking a mug of blood. He bends down by the sofa where Anya is sleeping and as he stands, Xander sees him with blood on his lip. Xander concludes that Spike bit Anya. Xander punches Spike several times before Giles and Anya stop him. Xander then kisses Anya passionately and the two run off together.

Hiding in a laundry room, Willow and Tara try to move a vending machine to block the door but they're not strong enough. Willow tries to move it via magic but can only shake it slightly. Tara understands what she's trying to do and clasps Willow's hand to combine their magic. As soon as they hold hands, the vending machine slams against the door.Buffy gets caught by the assistant demons and as they prepare to cut into her, Riley shocks them with bolts of electricity. They fight once more and Buffy recognises the box containing the voices from her dream. She points it out to Riley who smashes it. The voices get released and Buffy lets out a long, loud scream causing the Gentlemen's heads to explode in a shower of green slime.

The next day, Tara tells Willow that she was trying to find her as she wanted a spell to restore the voices, knowing that from the Wiccan group she was the only one interested. The two talk and Tara tells Willow that she's powerful, even if she doesn't know it yet. Giles and Olivia talk about how many scary things there are in the world and how she feels like she doesn't want to be part of it.

In her dorm room, Riley visits Buffy. He tells her that they need to talk to which she agrees. However, the two of them find that they're overcome with silence once again.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: 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.
  • Accidental Unfortunate Gesture: During the Scooby Gang's meeting regarding the Gentlemen, Willow mimes that the Gentlemen want hearts. Xander interprets it as breasts. After that Buffy attempts to suggest staking them. It comes out as... something else.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian
  • Almost Kiss: Buffy and Riley; unusually for this trope it's Buffy, not a third party, who acts as Moment Killer with her Gibberish of Love.
  • Am I Just a Toy to You?: Anya wonders this about Xander, until he proves his love by beating up Spike.
  • And I Must Scream: Only you can't, even when you're being held down on the bed as grinning demons approach you with a scalpel...
  • Anxiety Dreams: Riley kissing her in front of a classroom of watching students reflects Buffy's nervousness about getting her First Kiss from him.
  • Artistic License Religion: The Wiccans' haughty attitude to the idea of spellcasting is justified, as it's an actual religion rather than a means of gaining Dark Powers.
  • Asleep in Class: Willow assures Buffy that she was very discreet about it.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The Gentlemen
  • Badass Princess: According to legend, the scream of a princess killed the Gentlemen. Fortunately All Myths Are True.
  • Blatant Lies: Buffy's and Riley's cover stories. Buffy will be patrolling— uh... "petroleum". Riley will be "grading papers". What papers? Uh... late ones.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted; Riley's taser rifle runs out of power in the middle of the battle.
  • Broken Heel: Tara trips and drops her books; as she is gathering them up we see the Gentlemen gliding up behind her.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: Riley and Forest take the elevator down to the Initiative, but can't provide the voice ID and the elevator starts to fill with Deadly Gas. They're rescued before they asphyxiate; after letting them out, Professor Walsh points out the sign that reads "In case of emergency, use stairs."
  • Cannot Spit It Out: An underlying theme—various characters only start communicating once their voices have gone.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Olivia from "The Freshman" makes a reappearance.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Professor Walsh's lecture on the difference between language and communication.
  • Clock Tower: The Gentlemen have made their base in a boarded-up clock tower, and the climactic battle takes place there.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: The Scoobies are all grouped around a TV showing a news broadcast from LA regarding everyone in Sunnydale losing their voices, attributed to a laryngitis outbreak. A strong argument could be made that this example is justified—an entire freaking town losing their voices simultaneously is bound to get through at least one person's Weirdness Censor. Also the Scoobies were already watching TV; Xander simply calls attention to the broadcast at the appropriate point.
  • Continuity Nod: 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").
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: The Footmen have Buffy pinned while a grinning Gentleman advances on her wielding a scalpel... then Riley frees her with a well-aimed taser blast.
  • Crash-Into Hello: 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 Twisted Ankle which slows them in fleeing from the floating horrors.
  • Creepy Children Singing: 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 key to breaking their spell.
  • Curse of Babel: Though instead of speaking different languages, the victims can't speak at all.
  • Cut Apart: 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).
  • Department of Redundancy Department: 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."
  • Didn't Think This Through: Xander calls Buffy, and she picks up the phone. Simultaneously, they realize it was a stupid idea, since they're mute and all.
  • Dramatic Pause: One of Giles' briefing overhead transpariencies is marked only with the word THEN to introduce a suitable dramatic pause in his exposition.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Everyone jumps when a boy drops a beer bottle in the now silent lounge room.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Buffy while Asleep in Class.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The banks are closed but the liquor stores are open.
  • Empathic Environment: 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.
  • Enemy Mime: The Gentlemen communicate through gesture.
  • Establishing Character Moment: 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 Hidden Depths.
  • Erotic Dream/Daydream Surprise: Buffy's prophetic dream has Riley kissing her in front of the entire class.
  • Facial Dialogue: A matter of necessity.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Giles explicitly describes The Gentleman as "fairytale monsters" in his mute lecture.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Gentlemen use excessively polite gestures with each other.
  • Flashback Cut: Buffy remembers the singing child in her dream holding the box containing everyone's voices.
  • First Kiss: Buffy/Riley
  • Flipping the Bird: Spike doesn't need a voice to communicate. He gives the British two-finger version.
  • Flying Broomstick: A non-empowering stereotype for Wiccans.
  • Funny Background Event: Forrest holding up COME ON, COME ON on his notebook as Riley struggles to deactivate the Deadly Gas.
  • Game Face: Spike vamps out after drinking a mug of blood. This doesn't help his case when he then drops something near a sleeping Anya, leaning down near her neck to pick it up.
  • Gas Leak Cover-Up: Apparently the Mayor's demise has not ended Sunnydale Syndrome—the authorities blame the sudden loss of everyone's voices on "laryngitis caused by flu vaccinations." Others think it's all a big hoax.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Willow and Tara—notice the Held Gaze and Intertwined Fingers and constant praise of each other's... spellcasting?
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The frat boy who's had his heart removed.
  • Hidden Depths: 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.
  • Holding Hands: Buffy and Willow walking through Sunnydale after everyone has been struck dumb.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Tillow and Spander
    Xander: Don't even think of biting me.
    Spike: Sure, you're just a yummy treat.
    Xander: Course, I am. I'm moist and delicious.
  • Improvised Weapon: Everything Buffy and Riley can get their hands on in the clock tower, including hanging ropes and the bell.
  • Internal Reveal: Buffy and Riley come face to face in their fight with the Gentleman. She learns that he's one of the commandos she's run across, he learns that she's... something?
  • Intertwined Fingers: Willow and Tara casting the spell to move the soda machine.
  • In the Back: Buffy gets back-sliced by a scalpel-wielding Gentleman.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: 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: Sung by Young!Buffy during the prophetic dream.
  • 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.
  • Jump Scare (see Cut Apart)
  • Knuckle Cracking: Giles before he starts his silent lecture.
  • Large Ham: 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 (using a pre-made slide) that only a human voice will work.
  • Last-Second Word Swap
    Riley: So, what have you got going on tonight?
    Buffy: Patrolling.
    Riley: Patrolling?
    Buffy: ... petroleum.
  • Little Dead Riding Hood: Although she wears blue (see Red Oni, Blue Oni) in the DVD Commentary Joss Whedon refers to Tara meeting the Gentlemen as The Lost Woods scene. This shows how Tara is taking over the Damsel in Distress role from Willow, who was becoming too powerful and assertive.
  • Lecture as Exposition: Lampshaded and subverted when Giles is forced to this without his ability to speak.
  • Lock Down: The CDC isn't letting anyone in or out of Sunnydale thanks to the "laryngitis outbreak."
  • Loud of War: Screaming causes the Gentlemen's heads to a splode.
  • Love At First Spell: Tillow is born.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: Giles's Temporary Love Interest 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 via Your Head A Splode.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life
    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 Clark Kent our way through the dating scene, never to use our unfair advantage. Thank God we're pretty.
  • Mission Briefing: Without any spoken dialogue.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Averted; Olivia slides out from under the covers and puts on a robe in the dark bedroom.
  • Mood Whiplash: From wacky misunderstanding (see Not What It Looks Like) to romantic kiss (Xander and Anya) to dramatic chase scene (Willow and Tara).
  • Mooks: The shambling Footmen in their Bedlam House straightjackets.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: 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)
    Then (picture of Gentleman; Giles holds up index finger for emphasis)
    (picture of Gentleman 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)
  • Nonverbal Miscommunication:
    • While brainstorming on how they might slay the demons, Buffy shrugs and nonchalantly 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.
    • Immediately prior, Xander confuses Willow's "heart" gesture 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.
  • Morning Routine: Buffy brushing her teeth before she realises she can't speak. A crying girl running down the hallway gets a quizzical look.
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: Willow hides behind an open writing pad to spy on Buffy flirting with Riley.
  • No Dialogue Episode
  • Not What It Looks Like: Xander sees blood on Spike's lips as he's bent near a sleeping Anya—cue Berserk Button.
  • Organ Theft: The Gentlemen must take seven hearts for an unknown purpose.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Anya munches popcorn throughout Giles's mimed overhead-projector lecture about the Gentlemen.
  • Power Floats: The Footmen move in a shambling walk while the Gentlemen float just above the ground.
  • Pretender Diss: Willow dismisses most of the neo-pagans at her college as a "bunch of wanna-blessed-bes". Fortunately for her, Tara turns out to be an exception.
    Willow: Talk, all talk! Blah blah, Gaia, blah blah, moon, 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.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Willow (outgoing, magically powerful and impulsive) wears red while Tara (shy, but with longer experience in magic) wears blue.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Why do the Gentlemen need those hearts?
  • Robo Speak: Walsh uses a computer voice synthesizer to brief Riley's team.
  • Rule of Threes
    Giles: I need you to take Spike for a few days.
    Xander: What?!
    Spike: What?!
    Anya: What?!
  • Screaming Woman: For once, this is effective.
  • Secret Identity: Buffy and Riley discover the truth about each other.
  • Shipper on Deck: Willow for Buffy/Riley. "Do I have to tie you two together? I need my vicarious smoochies!"
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Inverted Trope—Buffy complains to Willow that every time she feels ready to kiss Riley she starts babbling. When they two of them meet for the first time after losing their voices, they quickly have their First Kiss.
  • Silence Is Golden: "Hush" is without dialogue (other than computer voices and a news broadcast) for over 27 minutes straight, nearly two thirds of the episode.
  • Simple Staff: Riley's expandable baton.
  • Skewed Priorities: Buffy is indignant that Giles's drawing of her is too fat.
  • Slasher Smile: The Gentlemen, permanently, with gleaming chrome teeth.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Giles plays Danse Macabre during his Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book lecture.
  • Static Stun Gun/Lightning Gun: Riley's taser blaster.
  • Stunt Double: Lampshaded by Joss Whedon in the DVD Commentary.
    Whedon: Oh, looks like Buffy's got her fightin' boobs on!
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: 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.
  • Talk About That Thing: Willow leaving Buffy alone with Riley. She then turns right back around to spy on them from behind a notebook.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: 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.
  • There Was a Door: Buffy enters the clock tower by smashing through a boarded-up window.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Spike eats Giles' entire supply of Weetabix, and no one wants him around when they're having a shag.
  • Too Much Information: Giles having to listen to Anya and Xander discuss their sex life. Spike mixing his blood with Weetabix.
  • Twisted Ankle: Willow running from the Gentlemen, but played more subtly than other examples of this trope.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: In the second half of the episode, Buffy and Riley play out the A plot and Willow and Tara the B plot. Due to the alternating editing of the scenes together, they seem to take place at the same time when actually the B plot occurs slightly before the A - all the Gentlemen can be seen in the clocktower, meaning the two pursuing Willow and Tara must have given up and returned to base. This appears to be Discontinuity at first, seemingly the number of the Gentlemen has risen from 6 to 9.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue:
    • Repeatedly done between the Scoobies and the Initiative:
      Buffy: [to Willow] I wish I could just come clean.
      [Smash Cut]
      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?
      [Smash Cut]
      Walsh: [computer voice] Because there will be chaos.
  • Unusual Euphemism
    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.
  • Verbal Backspace: Sunnydale authorities have issued a statement... that is, a written statement...
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: 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 without even looking at him.
  • Visual Innuendo: Buffy's hand signal for "staking" which looks just like A Date with Rosie Palms. Anya's gesture to Xander, on the other hand, leaves absolutely no room for ambiguity.
  • Your Door Was Open: Anya barges into Giles's home as per usual.
  • "You!" Squared: Done silently between Buffy and Riley, on finding themselves at taser/crossbow point.
  • Your Head A Splode: What happens to the Gentlemen when Buffy screams.
  • Wakeup Makeup: Buffy and Willow after their voices have been stolen. We even see Buffy going to the bathroom to get ready despite the fact that she already looks perfect.
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