Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 4 E 10 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

A pack of 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 Amber Benson as Tara, as well as the acting debut of Andy Hallett, who would go on to play Lorne in 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.

  • 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.
  • Acceptable Religious Targets: 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Anxiety Dreams: Riley kissing her in front of a classroom of watching students reflects Buffy's nervousness about getting her First Kiss from him.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit and Slasher Smile: 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. 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 Gentlemen 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 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."
  • Dramatic Pause: One of Giles' briefing OHTs 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
  • 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 is Not Helping Your 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 "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 others...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: 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.
  • 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
  • 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 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.
  • Loud of War
  • 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.
  • 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: Even the Lecture As Exposition (with gracious quantities of Mood Whiplash).
  • 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 Gentlemen; Giles 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).
  • 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.
    • Xander confusing 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.
  • 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 reacts this way to Giles' 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 wannablessedbes". 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?
    • Oh wow. Stealth Pun, thy name is Christina Perri.
    • 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, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished.
  • 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 for over 27 minutes straight, nearly two thirds of the episode.
  • Simple Staff: Riley's expandable baton.
  • Skewed Priorities: Buffy is indignant that Giles' drawing of her is too fat.
  • 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.
    "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.
  • 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 Scenes, One Dialogue: Repeatedly done between the Scoobies and the Initiative:
    Buffy: (to Willow) I wish I could just come clean.
    Smash Cut 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?
    Smash Cut to 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.
  • What Could Have Been: Buffy and Riley were originally going to make love in this episode, but Joss Whedon realized it was too soon for them.
  • Your Door Was Open: Anya barges into Giles' home as per usual.
  • "You!" Squared: Done silently between Buffy and Riley, on finding themselves at taser/crossbow point.
  • Your Head Asplode: What happens to the Gentlemen when Buffy screams.