While some of the trademarks of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are its witty Whedonesque dialogue and the shattering Tear Jerker moments that befall the people of Sunnydale, one of the things that also makes it special is the bedrock of support that its characters offer each other time and time again.
Some of the great Heartwarming moments include:
"Welcome to the Hellmouth" (1x01)
- It may have eroded her popularity right out of the gate, but Buffy striking up a friendship with the younger, more timid Willow is really sweet, especially the pep talk Buffy gives her in the Bronze. Even if it goes slightly awry.
- What makes Buffy befriending Willow even sweeter is that it's later implied that Buffy used to be an Alpha Bitch like Cordelia. It shows that for all her efforts in the first season to fit in and be normal, she cares about other people.
"The Harvest" (1x02)
- The whole point of Buffy coming to Sunnydale was for Buffy to start afresh and not be the Slayer. What inspired her to carry on? Her newfound friendship with Willow and Xander.
"The Witch" (1x03)
- The ending:Amy: My dad is so impossible! He doesn't ever want me going anywhere! He wants to spend total quantity time together. And I'm, like, "Dad, I can go out, it's perfectly safe!" But he's got all this guilt about leaving me with my mom. And he's being a total pain.
Buffy: (smiles) You're loving it.
Amy: Every single minute.
"Teacher's Pet" (1x04)
- The science teacher (Dr. Gregory) telling Buffy that she can do great things despite the marks on her permanent record and the other faculty members giving her a hard time about it. A shame that he's killed off after the conversation is finished.
"Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" (1x05)
- The moment at the end where Buffy expresses her concern that her job put Giles in danger and Giles answers that he went to the funeral home of his own free will and that Buffy isn't to blame. Furthermore, he tells her a little about how he began as a Watcher and reminds her that she (or so they thought) ruined the Master's plan, helping her to feel that she's not the only one who's had to feel those pressures, and that she did achieve some good things.
- The Master's breakdown over Darla's death and the Anointed One's subsequent pep talk is pretty much the definition of Ugly Cute.
- Buffy and Angel's interactions in her room right before they share their first kiss.
- At the Bronze's Post-Fumigation Party during the episode's epilogue, Buffy and Angel convince each other that their romance can never happen. With a final goodbye, they kiss. Angel's open shirt reveals his chest is branded by the impression of Buffy's cross.
- The nightmares of everyone in Sunnydale are brought to life. A particularly emotional scene reveals that Giles' nightmare is that he will fail as Buffy's watcher and she'll die because of it. Also a Tear Jerker.
- Xander's nightmare seems like it will be funny, mostly consisting of a monster clown, until we see swastikas on the lockers. It is at this point that were reminded that Willow, his best friend, is Jewish.
"Out of Mind Out of Sight" (1x11)
- Mrs. Miller the English teacher being the first adult to try and encourage Cordelia to be a better student in a way that seems to reach her. Cordelia later returns this by saving her from suffocating at Marcie's hands.
"Prophecy Girl" (1x12)
- Joyce unwittingly being the one to coax Buffy into facing the Master through a pep talk about she met Buffy's dad and by buying her the iconic prom dress.
- Giles gearing up to take Buffy's place against The Master. He knew it was a suicide mission, but after he read the prophecy that The Master would kill Buffy (eliciting a temporary Heroic BSoD on her part), Giles was determined to die in her place. In the end, Buffy literally had to punch him out to stop him.
- Buffy: That's not how it goes. I'm the slayer.
Giles: I don't care what the books say. I defy prophecy, and I'm going. There's nothing you can say to change my mind.
Buffy: I know.
(Buffy knocks out Giles)
- A small one, but after so much animosity on her part, it's touching to see Cordelia and Willow having a perfectly civil "girl talk". It's ruined slightly by some Mood Whiplash Nightmare Fuel, but it's still a nice moment.
"When She Was Bad (2x01)
- The ending - Buffy is anxious about facing Xander and Willow in class after being an alienating bitch to them...she then finds they saved a seat for her and are happy to put it all behind them.
"Some Assembly Required" (2x02)
- When Giles is struggling to ask Jenny out and cursing his inability, she matter-of-factly asks him out instead. His surprise and delight is written all over his face even as he still can't quite vocalize properly, and afterwards walks off with a little hop in his step.
"School Hard" (2x03)
- When everyone is locked in different parts of the school, hiding from the army of vampires, Giles starts to panic, considering going out into the halls to find Buffy, despite Ms. Calender's warnings. The emotion in his voice is quite touching.
- Giles: (choked up) I-I am the Watcher! I am responsible for her and I have, I have to go.
- After it seems like Joyce might bond with Principal Snyder over shared frustration with Buffy's antics, seeing the way that Buffy and Snyder contrast in their reaction to the vampire crisis reignites Joyce's pride in her daughter.
- Joyce: I have a daughter who can take care of herself. Who's brave and resourceful and thinks of others in a crisis. No matter who you hang out with or what dumb teenage stuff you think you need to do, I'm gonna sleep better knowing all that.
"Reptile Boy (2x05)
- Buffy rebelling against Giles' strict training nearly gets herself killed by a giant demon snake...Buffy: I'm sorry.
Giles: So am I. [Buffy braces for the chewing out]...I... I drive you too hard because I-I know what you have to face. From now on no, no more pushing, no more prodding. Just, um, an inordinate amount of nudging?
"The Dark Age" (2x08)
- Cordelia admitting without hesitation that she cares about Giles.
"What's My Line, Part 1" (2x09)
- Buffy and Angel coming together at the ice rink after fighting another battle together.
- Buffy: Don't be a baby. I'm not gonna hurt you.
Angel: [in Game Face] No, it's just... you shouldn't have to touch me... like this.
Buffy: Oh. [pause] ...I didn't even notice.
- The scene where Buffy and Angel make love. Not just for the act itself, but for the buildup, where Angel was taking care of Buffy, and Buffy was terrified about having almost lost Angel to the Judge.
- Angel giving Buffy the claddagh ring as a birthday gift is quite moving as well.
- Willow asking Oz to be her date to a party. Just precious.
- Giles reminds us that he was ten times more Buffy's father than Hank Summers ever was.
- Giles: It's not over. I suppose you know that. He'll come after you, particularly. His profile, uh, well, he's likely to strike out at the things that made him the most human-
Buffy: (choked up) You must be so disappointed in me.
Giles: No. No, I'm not.
Buffy: (almost incoherent) But this is all my fault!
Giles: (gently) No, I don't believe it is. Do you want me to wag my finger at you and tell you that you acted rashly? You did. And I can. (pause) I know that you loved him. And he, he's proven more than once that he loved you. You couldn't have known what would happen. The coming months are going to be hard, I suspect on all of us, but... if it's guilt you're looking for Buffy, I'm not your man. (looks her straight in the eyes) All you will get from me is my support. And my respect.
- The expression on Buffy's face at the end of that scene, with her eyes full of tears and her nose all puffy and yet she's still about to give a little smile simply because she knows that Giles still loves her despite all that's happened, is just worth a million words all by itself.
- Oz cementing why he's a perfect complement to Willow at this point in her life.
- Oz: "Sometimes when I'm sitting in class—you know, I'm not thinking about class, 'cause that would never happen—I think about kissing you. And it's like everything stops. It's like, it's like freeze frame. Willow kissage.
Oz:: Oh, I'm not gonna kiss you.
Willow: What? But... freeze frame!
Oz: Well, to the casual observer it would appear that you're trying to make your friend Xander jealous or even the score, or something. And that's on the empty side. See, in my fantasy when I'm kissing you, you're kissing me. It's okay. I can wait.
- Though it doesn't erase everything he did, Larry the bully coming out as gay is surprisingly heartwarming, especially in the end scene when he's Lost A Level In Jerkass."Oh, wow. I said it. And it felt... okay. [Whispers] I'm gay. I am gay."
"Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" (2x16)
- Xander demands the heart pendant he gave Cordelia as a Valentine's Day gift back, and Cordelia is visibly hurt and offended, but puts on a bold front, pretending she hadn't liked it anyway and says something along the lines of "Fine, I'll get it. It's in my locker". She opens her locker, and behind the locker door where Xander can't see what she's doing, instead of taking the pendant from the locker where she said she'd put it, she surreptitiously removes it from around her neck, where she'd been wearing it under her collar, proving how much the gift had actually meant to her. There's even sentimental piano music playing in the background when she does this.
- Xander heroically turns down a sexually aggressive Buffy (she came in to sexophone music) - the same girl he's been pining over for 28 episodes - knowing she's an unwitting victim of a love spell he cast. Nicholas Brendon's expression and delivery effectively conveys the conflicting emotions of concern for his friend, and the "I can't believe I'm actually saying this!" as he refuses Buffy's advances.Xander It's not that I don't want too. Sometimes the remote, impossible possibility that you might like me was all that sustained me. But not now. Not like this. This isn't real to you. You're only here because of a spell. I mean if I thought you had one clue what it would mean to me ... But you don't ... so I can't.
- Fittingly Buffy expresses her appreciation for his discipline at the end of the episode.
- Cordelia standing up to her friends about her relationship with Xander at the end.
- The scene after Buffy saves Giles near the end is both heartwarming and a Tear Jerker.Giles: Why did you come here?! This wasn't your fight!
(She punches him in the jaw, and he spins and falls to the pavement.)
Buffy: Are you trying to get yourself killed?!
(She begins to cry and crouches down to hug him. He cries and hugs her
Buffy: You can't leave me. I can't do this alone.
- Buffy setting aside her anger at Jenny for deceiving everyone about her past and reasons for being in Sunnydale, in order to allow Giles to have a chance at being happy with her. A very strong but understated action that shows Buffy's loving side and her care for her friends.
- Of course the scene is a massive Tear Jerker, but when Willow hears of Jenny's death and is screaming and crying, you see Joyce immediately run in and hug her. There's no time for her to have been told about the death, so it shows the maternal instinct she has towards her daughter's best friend that she sees her in distress and immediately hugs her to comfort her.
"I Only Have Eyes For You" (2x19)
- When Willow gives Giles the rose quartz that belonged to Jenny Calendar. The understated acting of both Alyson Hannigan and Anthony Stewart Head is what really sells it.
"Go Fish" (2x20)
- A small moment where Buffy saves one of the swim team members from Angelus. Keep in mind that one of them tried to rape her before. We hardly see her actually saving a victim from attack, then she goes the extra mile in walking him home.
- Cordelia(!), when she thinks that Xander has transformed into a fish-monster, says that it doesn't matter and that she'll still try to be with him.I know you can't answer me, but... God, this is all my fault. You joined the swim team to impress me. You were so courageous. And you looked really hot in those Speedos. And I want you to know that I still care about you, no matter what you look like. And... and we can still date. Or, or not. I mean... I understand if you wanna see other fish. I'll do everything I can to make your quality of life better. Whether that means little bath toys or whatever.
"Becoming Part 1" (2x21)
- Kendra giving Buffy her personal stake, Mister Pointy, is a very kind gesture that demonstrates how meeting Buffy and the Scoobies has allowed Kendra to open up a bit to others.
- Spike and Dru are strangely tender and gentle with one another in the first half of this season (emphasis on the "strange"). It gets oddly cuter when you realise that the motivation for literally all of Spike's evil doing was for Dru; to get her healthy again, to make sure she enjoys her birthday, to get her away from Angelus... They would be adorable if they weren't so terrifying.
"Dead Man's Party" (3x02)
- When Buffy returns from Los Angeles. After settling in she goes to find her friends and they head to Giles house. While Xander, Willow and Buffy joke in his living room Giles goes to the kitchen to get tea. While there he listens to them laughing in the next room, takes off his glasses, leans against his cabinets and smiles.
- For reference, note that in "Nightmares", Buffy's death is revealed to be Giles' greatest nightmare. One can only imagine what he went through that summer, only to find her alive and well in the fall. I'd smile too.
- Buffy and Willow playfully Volleying Insults at the end, having made up is both funny and so damn adorable.
"The Wish" (3x09)
- Buffy makes a sincere attempt to help Cordelia following her break-up with Xander. It's a nice sign that while Buffy saw Cordy as a rival, she does actually care about her well-being.
- The ending. Buffy tries to stop Angel from killing himself by standing in sunlight. Out of nowhere, it starts snowing, and the sun doesn't come out that day. The episode ends with Buffy and Angel walking through the snow holding hands.
- Willow tries to make up with Oz after her cheating on him with Xander. After several rejections he does, which leads her to pull out all the stops in a bid to seduce him. Despite Barry White, low lighting and a Little Red Dress, he turns her down because he wants their first time together to be about them and not because Willow wants to get over Xander.
- Buffy asks for help figuring out what's tormenting Angel to Giles, who has every reason to let him suffer, and he agrees...then Xander pops in, asking "Where do we start?" And Willow makes four.
- Joyce suggests that Buffy invite Faith over for Christmas dinner. She eventually accepts.
- After the events of "Lovers Walk" (re: discovering Xander and Willow making out), Cordelia has been rather frosty towards the Scooby Gang. Buffy has just learned that Giles was responsible (on order of the Watcher's Council) of drugging her and dampening her Slayer powers. She asks Cordelia (who has no idea of all of this) for a ride home in a voice that simply screams pain and desperation. Without hesitation, Cordelia agrees.
- Buffy's real father abandons her on her birthday, and she learns that Giles has drugged her. Both father figures in her life, from her perspective, have betrayed her. However, Giles proves his love to Buffy yet again by attempting to take her place in the council's test. Putting himself in grave danger in the process and losing his position. As the end of the episode, Quentin Travers makes Giles' feelings for Buffy quite clear: "You have a father's love for the child, and that is useless to the cause".
"Bad Girls" (3x14)
- In Wesley's first appearance, when Buffy begins to report to Giles on her patrols, Wesley tells Buffy that Giles is no longer her Watcher and the only reason she should need to talk to Giles is about overdue book fees. Buffy turns to Giles.Buffy: We'll talk?
Giles: Of course.
- When Giles and Wesley are captured by Balthazar, and Wesley is freaking the hell out, Giles, knowing full well that Balthazar intends to kill them, offers to give the demon the information he wants in exchange for letting Wesley go. We've seen previously that Giles is more than willing to die for the people he loves, but he takes it a step further in this episode, demonstrating that he's just as willing to give his life for someone he doesn't even like.
- Buffy, Xander and Giles all hugging Willow. Sure, it was simultaneously Played for Laughs, but they love that girl so much. Especially the hug from Giles. Buffy and Xander had just finished giving a crushing hug to Willow, and she turned to him for a more measured response, and instead received an even more crushing hug from Giles.
- Any scene with Faith and Mayor Wilkins. but this one is both heartwarming and weird, considering that the Mayor is the Big Bad."I have two words that are going to make all the pain go away: Miniature. Golf."
(Faith cracks up)
- Bonus points for the Mayor here, since your typical Evil Overlord would be delivering a You Have Failed Me, since what has Faith so upset is not just that she was tricked, but that she revealed information the Mayor wanted hidden in the process. Instead, he shows he cares more about her feelings than the threat to his plans.
- After Angel acts like he's been turned back into Angelus and Buffy needs some time to deal in "Enemies".Angel: You still my girl?
- Buffy is depressed that she's forced to stay in Sunnydale. Willow ends up approaching her and starts talking to her. During the conversation, Willow casually reveals that she's going to UC Sunnydale and shows Buffy that she's still going to have her best friend by her side. Cue tackle/hug from Buffy and some sweet romantic friendship moments.
"The Prom" (3x20)
- Buffy gets a CMOH, as well as a CMOA and CMOF. 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 that everyone should have. I'm gonna 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."
- Xander keeping Cordelia's secret about being broke and even going so far as to buy her dress for her. Even though they had really disliked each other and had a destructive romance earlier, Xander still sympathizes for her.
- Jonathan giving Buffy the "Class Protector" award.Jonathan: We have one more award to give out. Is Buffy Summers here tonight? Did she, um . . . This is actually a new category. First time ever. I guess there were a lot of write-in ballots, and, um, the prom committee asked me to read this. "We're not good friends. Most of us never found the time to get to know you, but that doesn't mean we haven't noticed you. We don't talk about it much, but it's no secret that Sunnydale High isn't really like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here. [Crowd outbursts: "Zombies!" "Hyena people!" "Snyder!"] But, whenever there was a problem or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you, or helped by you at one time or another. We're proud to say that the Class of '99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history. And we know at least part of that is because of you. So the senior class, offers its thanks, and gives you, uh, this. It's from all of us, and it has written here, 'Buffy Summers, Class Protector.'"
Giles: You did good work tonight, Buffy.
- This speech takes on a whole new meaning when you remember that three episodes prior, Buffy talked Jonathan down from a suicide attempt.
- All the Scoobies are so happy for her. Even Cordelia.
- Speaking of Jonathan, during the prom he can be spotted entering with a beautiful girl on his arm. It's nice to see he found someone to go with after all he's been through.
- When Giles finds her just after she gets the award.
Buffy: (holding award) And I got a little toy surprise!
Giles: Yes, I had no idea children, en masse, could be... gracious.
Buffy: Every now and then, people surprise you.
Giles: ...Every now and then.
Giles (looking truly crestfallen): Oh, Buffy, I'm sorry. (pause) I don't really know what to say. (beat) Um, I understand that this sort of thing requires... ice cream of some kind.
- He then takes the trophy and nods behind her... and there's Angel in a tux, come to dance with her.
- Even Wes gets a small moment here. In spite of his usual disinterest in... basically anything unrelated to Buffy's duties as a Slayer, when Buffy is given the Class Protector award, Wesley can be seen smiling and clapping for her with everyone else.
- Before the Prom itself, when Buffy has sent them all packing, Giles has one of his typical "I'm basically Buffy's father" moments when he realises that Angel has left her. Perfectly handled, and a brilliant example of their relationship at its finest.
- Especially when you consider that Giles has more reason than Xander to hate Angel and think he's nothing but bad news for his Slayer; all that matters to him is that Buffy is in pain.
- Shortly followed by Buffy admitting to Giles that Angel is leaving. Giles' response is just... well, there's a reason it's on this page.
"Graduation Day Part 1" (3x21)
- It's small, really really small, but the scene with Xander coming in late to class and the teacher chastising his students for taking it easy after finals, and talking about how this is still a classroom- right before he starts playing a game of hangmen with his students and laughing. It's just a footnote of the whole episode, but it shows the bonds between teacher and student that we rarely see in this series.
"Graduation Day, Part 2" (3x22)
- A very small moment at the end. In the aftermath of the battle and the school being blown up, Giles tells Buffy how proud he is of her for leading everyone and ultimately stopping the Mayor, which in itself is quite heartwarming. Giles then proceeds to pull out Buffy's diploma, which he personally salvaged from the wreckage, and hands it to her, telling her that even if might not mean much to her, she's more than earned it. Buffy's facial expression is what sells the moment though as it becomes clear that it is important to her, especially since it's coming from Giles.
- Cordelia walks into the library, demanding to know why Buffy rejected Wesley as her Watcher. Cordy tells Giles, "I just got off the phone with him. He could hardly speak, he was so upset." For the most part, Wes and Cordy's awkwardly flirtatious relationship is Played for Laughs on Buffy, and doesn't really develop into a deeper and more meaningful friendship until they both go over to Angel, but this scene shows that they really do care about each other, and it's really sweet (and a little bit sad) when you realize that when Wesley was upset, his first thought was to call the only person in Sunnydale who actually liked him.
- "I'm not here for the Council. Just tell me how I can help."
"The Freshman" (4x01)
- Xander's pep talk to Buffy:Xander: "You're my hero."
"Wild at Heart" (4x06)
- Buffy telling Willow "I love you" before leaving. The line is ad-libbed.
"The Initiative" (4x07)
- Buffy telling Professor Walsh off for being mean to Willow, who is still dealing with Oz leaving.
- A rather bizarre one (and somewhat dampened by the fact that he'd just tried to kill her), but a newly chipped and rather annoyed Spike going out of his way to reassure a rather down Willow (whose self-esteem had been low after Oz's depatured and had plummeted to new lows following Spike's failure to bite her) that she was in fact "very biteable", rather than just continuing to rage about it. Then she reassures him that he's still scary.
"Something Blue" (4x09)
- Buffy asking Giles to walk her down the aisle. Giles is genuinely touched by the request but quickly snaps out of it and reminds her she's under a spell.
- When Buffy and Willow come in, and Giles just puts his hand on Buffy's shoulder and squeezes it and gives her a big smile, showing relief and love and reassurance all at the same time. Willow also tries to get in on the action, but doesn't quite get it.
- Willow writing "Hi, Giles".
- Before the Gentlemen roll into town, Anya and Xander were fighting because she thought he only cared about the sex, while he was unable to find the words to tell her it wasn't like that. Later, when everyone's voices have been stolen, Xander mistakenly thinks Spike had somehow beaten his chip and been drinking from Anya, and promptly starts beating the shit out of Spike. His relief and hug when he sees Anya is okay, and the look on Anya's face as she realizes she was wrong and he does care for her deeply, are too sweet for words.
- Willow and Tara's first meeting. In detail, Willow has joined up with the campus wicca group, expecting to find like-minded actually practicing witches (which, given Sunnydale and the Hellmouth, not an unreasonable assumption). Instead, they're busy talking about their latest bake sale. When Willow starts suggesting that they actually try some spell-casting, she's mocked by the leader of the group. Then this shy mousy blonde girl starts trying to speak up in agreement with Willow, the leader cuts her down cruelly, and she stops speaking, but then looks at Willow - for the first time she's been there, it's clear she's found someone who agrees with her, and she then instantly latches on to Willow as someone who can do something magic-related, when they have their significant first combined spell, moving a soda machine to barricade the door as they hide from the Gentlemen's minions. Leading to their conversation after their voices are restored.Willow: Spells going awry, friends in danger... I'm nothing special.Tara: No, you are.
"A New Man" (4x12)
- Giles introduces himself to Professor Walsh as Buffy's "friend and ex-school librarian", and then launches into the most stereotypical parent-teacher talk imaginable. Marred perhaps by Prof. Walsh's rather caustic attitude, but... He leans casually against the furniture and chats about how Buffy's not a typical student.
- The fact that Buffy can recognize Giles by his eyes even when he's turned into a Fyarl demon.
- When the Scoobies think Giles has been kidnapped, Buffy goes after the one lead they have, telling Willow and Xander to stay and man the phone in case there's a ransom call. "Give them anything they want."
"This Year's Girl" (4x15)
- The Mayor's postmortem video journal message to Faith, especially. To think that the man who devoted his entire life to become an immortal snake demon at the cost of hundreds or thousands of lives over a century would care about a glorified minion so much that in his own twisted way he tried to ensure that even without him she could have a better life. Also, when Faith was in a coma, he actually swore the only time in the entire season - and his own impending death couldn't get anything but "well, gosh" out of him!
"Who Are You?" (4x16)
- Tara and Willow get together and Tara says, "I am, you know." "What?" "Yours."
Tara: I'd have to be your anchor, keep you on this plane.
- This is labelled as a Wham Line with good reason, it makes you all warm and fuzzy and tingly inside.
- And its so soft spoken and offhand that its easy to miss if you dont carefully pay attention. Many people dont realize Willow and Tara are a loverpair until much later.
Willow: I trust you.
Tara: I-it's not like anything we've ever-
Willow: I trust you.
"New Moon Rising" (4x19)
- Willow coming out to Buffy is a really sweet moment, thanks to both Sarah and Alyson's acting and the way the scene is written. Buffy is surprised and understandably uncomfortable at first, but once she gets over the shock (which doesn't take too long), she's completely supportive.
"The Yoko Factor" (4x20)
- After the events of the Angel episode "Sanctuary", Angel showing up to apologize to Buffy for the way he treated her during the Faith debacle.
- Just when you thought Willow couldn't get any more adorable, her first scene in the episode has her squeeing over her and Tara's cat Miss Kitty Fantastico.
- Xander mopes in bed following the argument at the end of the previous episode. Anya gives him some words of encouragement.Anya: Are you still upset about that fight you had with your friends? It was hours ago! Get over it.Xander: Anya, you—Forget it.Anya: So, they all think you're lost, directionless loser with no plans for his future? Pfft.Xander: Anya, you can't "pfft" that stuff away.Anya: Why not?Xander: I don't know. 'Cause I think maybe they're right. Anya sighs and kneels down to Xander's bed and lays on his chest. Anya: So what if they are? You're a good person, and a good boyfriend, and...and I'm in love with you. Whatever they think of you, it shouldn't matter.Xander: Yeah. Yeah, it doesn't matter.
- As the gang is breaking into the Initiative HQ, Buffy and Willow resolve their growing apart and they end up hugging. When Xander meets up, they include him in the hug.Buffy: Let's promise to never not talk again.
Willow: I promise, I promise. (they hug)
(Xander lands in between them, and they both glomp him)
Willow: Oh, wonderful Xander!
Buffy: You know we love you, right?
Willow: We totally do.
Xander: (panicking) Oh God. We're gonna die, aren't we?!?
Willow: No! We just missed you!
Xander: (busts out in an ecstatic grin) Giles! Hurry up! You definitely wanna get down here for this!
- Kind of falls into all the seasons she appears in, but Tara's character growth alone qualifies. Watch her go from a shy and uncertain young woman to someone with confidence all through her relationship with Willow and, by extension, the Scoobies. Especially shown in the frumpy clothing she starts off wearing changing into flattering outfits.
"Buffy vs. Dracula" (5x01)
- When Buffy asks Giles to be her Watcher again.
"Real Me" (5x02)
- While the other Scoobies investigate the murder at the magic shop, Tara keeps Dawn company outside and they bond over the fact that they're both outsiders in the group. And then they have a thumb war.
- The whole last ten minutes. The whole Scoobie gang stands up for Tara against her bigoted, abusive relatives, even though she earlier deceived them and put them in danger.Mr. Maclay: This is insane. You people have no right to interfere with Tara's affairs! We are her blood kin! Who the hell are you?
Buffy: [quietly] We're family.
Mr. Maclay: What?
- Buffy's "If you want her, Mr. Maclay, you can go ahead and take her." And for a second you can't believe what she just said, and Tara's heart visibly shatters at that final rejection... and then "...You just gotta go through me," and that soft, gentle musical theme picks up, and the look on Tara's face... the hope, that incredulous look like this is all she's ever wanted, for someone to choose her and protect her just the way she is. That whole exchange is possibly the most beautiful thing Joss Whedon will ever create.
Buffy: You heard me. You wanna take Tara out of here against her will, you gotta come through me.
Dawn: And me.
Donny: Dad! You... You're gonna just...?! [stalking forward] Tara, if you don't get in that van I swear by god I will beat you down.
- Watching all the Scoobies, one by one, fall into place behind Tara. Even Spike.
- Culminates in an extra piece of powerful Heartwarming for Xander that doubles as a CMOA. Donny furiously steps forward, and in a blink-and-you'll miss it moment, Tara cringes. She's more openly terrified of her brother than of any other monster before or after that scene, which says a lot about how he treated her. Out of all the Scoobies, it's Xander who shuts him up.
Xander: And I swear by your full and manly beard, you're gonna break something trying.
- As Xander sticks up for Tara, Anya has the proudest expression.
Xander: You're dealing with all of us.
- This is leaving out the best part: during this scene, they all think Tara is a demon. Her family has spent the entire episode drilling into her head that they're the only ones who will be willing to spend time with her once she "changes", that her friends will abandon her the minute they find out, that she's worthless and should be grateful that her father and brother are willing to give her a home and keep her "problem" under control. And then the Scoobies stand up for her without blinking an eye; they couldn't care less if Tara's a demon, because they love her and the idea that they would reject her over something that she can't change is utterly ridiculous. Tara is experiencing real, unconditional love for the first time since her mother died. Damn right they're family, you son of a bitch.
- And, again, that includes Spike:
Spike: 'Cept me.
Xander: 'Cept Spike.
Spike: I don't care what happens.
- Except he does. You wouldn't think that punching someone in the face would qualify as an MOH, but he does it to prove that she's not a demon, and at the cost of considerable pain to himself at that, thanks to the chip. This also further cements just how loved Tara is that even Spike, who lacks a soul and has a contemptuous relationship with almost everyone else, doesn't hesitate for a second to help her out once he figures out how he can, even when he knows its gonna cause him a lot of pain.
- Indeed, it's the fact that he doesn't even stop to say anything about the why he's doing it - he puts it together that the whole demon thing is a lie, he walks up to Tara, punches her in the face, screams in pain, and everyone else just goes from there. The Scoobies recognize that he helped and they don't even get mad that he didn't even warn her. And, at this point, he even does it without the expectation of getting anything from the Scooby Gang.
- Earlier in the episode, Buffy and Xander discuss how they barely know Tara. And they leap to her defense anyway because she's family. Also, becomes Heartwarming in Hindsight come season six when Buffy and Tara become closer, to the point where Tara's the first one Buffy tells about her affair with Spike.
- Riley friendlily having drinks with a vampire who doesn't appear to be killing anyone and remaining faithful too Buffy. Although it becomes Harsher in Hindsight a couple of episodes later.
"Fool For Love" (5x07)
- Buffy: Why didn't the Watchers keep fuller accounts of [the Slayers' deaths]? The journals just stop.
Giles: Well, I suppose if they're anything like me, they just find the whole subject too-
Buffy: Unseemly? Damn. Love ya but you Watchers are such prigs sometimes.
Giles: 'Painful'... I was going to say.
- The ending. Spike goes to kill Buffy... but finds her sitting on the steps outside, crying after having been told her mother needs to stay the night in hospital. You can tell by the expression on his face that all thoughts of killing her are gone; instead, he sits down next to Buffy and makes an effort to comfort her by gently patting her on the back, and Buffy lets him.
- Hits doubly hard when you consider the season 7 reveal that Spike's own mother had also been victim of a fatal illness that he tried and failed to save her from. It's not just that he loves Buffy, he legitimately relates exactly to the helplessness she feels.
"Into The Woods" (5x10)
- After an emotional confrontation with Buffy, Xander goes home and tells Anya what's what.Xander: I've gotta say something, 'cause I don't think I've made it clear. I'm in love with you. Powerfully, painfully in love. The things you do, the way you think, the way you move... I get excited every time I'm about to see you. You make me feel like I've never felt before in my life. Like a man. I just thought you might wanna know.
- Joyce, about to go into life-threatening surgery, asking Buffy point blank if Dawn is really her daughter...and upon being told "no" telling Buffy she doesn't care, and begging Buffy to take care of her as her own daughter anyway. And Buffy agreeing.
- The ending, where Buffy stands up to the entire friggin' Watcher's Council, belongs more in CMOA, but the support she shows her friends during her speech, especially Xander.
- Played for Laughs, but Anya reassuring Xander that she does really like him when she thinks that he's talking about his own insecurity about Anya liking him. In truth, he's talking about Riley, but it's still sweet of Anya for trying to comfort him.
"Blood Ties" (5x13)
- The ending when Buffy tells Dawn that even if Dawn is the Key, she's also Buffy's sister.Buffy: Because I love you. You're my sister.
Dawn: No I'm not.
Buffy: Yes you are... Look, it's blood. It's Summers' blood. It's just like mine. It doesn't matter where you came from, or-or how you got here. You are my sister. There's no way you could annoy me so much if you weren't.
- Buffy cries when Dawn's present is a photo of her and Buffy. Dawn is uncomfortable with this display of emotion, saying that she just chose that gift because it was cheaper than a "real gift." But of course, this reaction doesn't mean that Dawn failed at giving Buffy a good gift, but that she succeeded too well.
- After Riley has left Buffy:Buffy: Maybe I could change. You know, I could, I could work harder. I could spend less time slaying, I could laugh at his jokes, I mean, men like that, right, the, the joke-laughing-at?
Xander: Or you could just be Buffy, and he'll see your amazing heart, and he'll fall in love with you.
"The Body" (5x16)
- When Joyce dies and Anya gives a speech about how she doesn't understand how humans deal with death and how Joyce will never have any more fruit punch. It was just such a great moment watching Anya cope with human emotions and grief. Also one of the biggest Tear Jerkers of the whole series.
- The gentle, fatherly way Giles comforts Buffy throughout this episode, running to hold her while she's in shock after he realizes what's happened, and later, at the hospital, taking care of all the paperwork that needs to be done so that Buffy doesn't have to be disturbed. There are no grand gestures, but he still seems so much like a parent.
- Tara and Buffy's conversation is probably the first time they've talked one-to-one in the series at this point - and a key moment in "Family" was about how none of the others knew her that well. You can tell it helps Buffy to be able to talk to someone who actually understands this - and perhaps this might be one of the first times Tara has been able to do the same. It's Heartwarming in Hindsight too given that they become quite good friends in Season 6.
- Tara being Willow's rock when she's fussing over what to wear to the funeral and thinking about Dawn. She calms her down with their first proper kiss.
- Anya innocently telling the Buffy that she wished that Joyce didn't die. Buffy just thanks her.
- The way everyone reacts to Joyce's death shows just how loved she really was. She wasn't just Buffy and Dawn's mother - she was mother to all of them.
- It's somewhere between CMOH and Tear Jerker, but Angel showing up to be with Buffy after Joyce's death:Buffy: It's gonna be light soon.
Angel: I can stay in town as long as you want me.
Buffy: How's forever? Does forever work for you?
- Even Spike, despite still being evil and not really part of the group at this point, gets one. He turns up to the house and Xander angrily dismisses him, thinking he's using it as an excuse to hit on Buffy. Spike indignantly states that he is there to pay his respects because Joyce treated him like a human being, regardless of what he did. Xander still doesn't believe him until he goes and leaves behind an anonymous bouquet of flowers.
- Giles listening to the record that he and Joyce listened to in "Band Candy", also being a Tear Jerker (but what isn't in relation to Joyce's death?).
- Spike was willing to let himself be tortured to death to spare Dawn, not because there was anything in it for him, but simply because it would have hurt someone he cared for.Spike: Buffy... the other, not-so-pleasant Buffy... If anything happened to Dawn, it'd destroy her. And I couldn't live, her being in that much pain. Let Glory kill me first. Nearly bloody did.
Buffy kisses Spike, revealing herself as the real Buffy, instead of the Buffybot.Buffy: [...] What you did for me and Dawn, that was real. I won't forget it.
"Tough Love" (5x19)
- When Dawn confesses to Spike that she's convinced that she's bad because of all the things that have happened because of her being the Key, he's quick to comfort her.Dawn: You wanna know what I'm scared of, Spike?...Me. Right now, Glory thinks Tara's the key. But I'm the key, Spike. I am. And anything that happens to Tara...is 'cause of me. Your bruises, your limp...that's all me too. I'm like a lightning rod for pain and hurt. And everyone around me suffers and dies. I...must be something so horrible...to cause so much pain...and evil.Spike: Rot.Dawn: What do you know?Spike: I'm a vampire. I know somethin' about evil. You're not evil.Dawn: Maybe...I'm not evil. But I don't think I can be good.Spike: Well, I'm not good, and I'm okay.
- The ending, when Willow promises to take care of Tara even if she never regains her sanity, because "she's my girl. She's my always."Doctor: "She's your sister?"
Willow: "She's my everything."
- The way Tara, even though she's had her mind erased, still gets upset when she's separated from Willow. Her sanity may be gone, but her love isn't.
- Spike's reaction to Brainsucked!Tara yanking up the shade:Spike:No biggie. Look, the skin's already stopped smoking. You go ahead and play...peek-a-boo with Mister Sunshine all you like.
- A small, powerful moment: When Spike fails to light his cigarette with bandaged hands, Xander (Xander!) walks over and does it for him.
- Giles, possibly dying, to Buffy:"I'm So Proud of You. You're everything a Watcher... that I could have hoped for."
"The Gift" (5x22)
- Buffy: I'm counting on you. To protect [Dawn].
Spike: Till the end of the world. Even if that happens to be tonight.
Spike: I know you'll never love me. I know that I'm a monster. But you treat me like a man. And that's...
- Shortly before that when Buffy restores Spike's invitation to enter the house, which she'd had revoked after learning about his obsession with her. Spike doesn't even ask to be let in, he was willing to wait outside while she passed him the weapons they needed, but is clearly very touched by the gesture.
- Giles is trying to steel Buffy for the possibility of having to kill Dawn, describing the end of the universe that would occur if she doesn't. Buffy's having none of it."Then the last thing she will see is me protecting her."
- Whatever faults she may have, Buffy was the greatest sister anybody could ever wish for.
- Willow healing Tara is both this and a Moment of Awesome. "I will always find you."
- When Buffy chooses to throw herself into the portal instead of letting Dawn do it? I cried.Buffy: Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will *always* love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles... tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world... is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.
Buffy: Dawnie, I have to.
- And this, when Dawn sees the look on Buffy's face when she realizes what she intends to do:
- Buffy's gravestone. "She saved the world. A lot." The first line is touching enough, but only the Scoobies would have the second line on an epitaph.
"Bargaining Part 1" (6x01)
- It's pretty creepy and unsettling, but in retrospect, the lengths Willow was willing to go to to get Buffy back qualify as CMOH. It was obvious that she would cross any line, sink to any depth, endure any agony, accept any horror, compromise any principle, risk any corruption by dark magic, if it meant saving Buffy from hell. Not very pure or moral, but the sheer amount of love palpable in her demeanor, especially during the ritual and her breakdown when she thinks she failed, is astounding. Plus, the bit earlier on, when Tara and Xander voice some concerns about the possible risks, and her only response is a blank stare and a "...but it's Buffy".
- Spike tells Dawn in no uncertain terms that he is going to keep her safe, which teeters on the edge of Tear Jerker territory when you see the sheer amount of guilt on his face.
"Bargaining Part 2" (6x02)
- Spike holds Dawn's hands and calms her after he sees how scared she is of the Hellions.
- When Giles leaves in part two, slipping out unseen so as not to cause a fuss. On finding his note, the Scoobies rush to the airport to wish him a proper goodbye.
"After Life" (6x03)
- Dawn taking care of the recently resurrected Buffy.
- The "Every night I save you" conversation.
- Spike's reaction to Buffy. At first he's shocked, then it's obvious he's happy to see her (the slight smile sells it), before he helps Dawn take care of her.
- Moments before that he'd come bursting through the door to find Dawn with obvious big brother worry on his face, and is genuinely relieved to see her OK. "You scared me half to death. Well, more to death."
- Buffy lying about what happened to her while she was dead, trying to make her friends happy despite the incredible pain they've put her through.Buffy: (to the Scoobies) I was in Hell. I...I can't think too much about what it was like. But it felt like the world abandoned me there. Then, suddenly, you guys...did what you did. And the world cam rushing back. You guys gave me the world. I can't tell you what that means to me.
- Although its immediately followed by the Tear Jerker of Buffy's revelation of having been ripped out of Heaven, the first half of the conversation with Spike she has is a Heartwarming moment simply because of the sheer amount of compassion that Spike, the soulless vampire, is channelling here. James Marsters acts the hell out of this scene.Spike: Buff... Slayer... are you OK?
Buffy: (insincerely) I'm here. I'm good.
Spike: Buffy. If you're in... if you're in pain. Or if you need anything. Or if I can do anything for you...
Buffy: You can't.
- The moment between Buffy and Giles when he returns.Giles: You're...
Buffy: A miracle.
Giles: Yes. (strokes her hair) But then I always thought so.
"Once More, with Feeling" (6x07)
- When Spike convinces Buffy she has to keep on living (and in song, no less).
- Tara moving over to comfort Willow after the latter finds out that they pulled Buffy out of heaven. She's pissed at Willow (rightfully so), but she immediately puts it aside to support her lover during a moment of serious emotional turmoil.
- While "I'll Never Tell" is something of an Anti-Love Song, towards the end it does have Anya and Xander reaffirm that they do in fact love each other.
- The way that Spike is basically trying to shove Buffy out the door of his crypt when she comes to pump him for information. His clipped, short sentences indicate that he knows exactly what happens with the terms of the spell, to sing their emotional truths. What makes this heartwarming is the fact that he has been her confidant through the last couple of episodes. And being a confidant for someone suffering depression is HARD, and making that difficulty clear to the depressed person can easily send them running from that confidant, because they don't want to be burden on others. So he's trying to keep from bearing his soul to her, because he knows that, while it's his emotional truth, it is still something that's only going to make things worse for her.
- "Under Your Spell". All of it. Tara displaying how she's grown since she's met Willow. Amber Benson's gorgeous voice really sells the song.
"Tabula Rasa" (6x08)
- Giles and Spike's "fatherly" hug.
- Tara's first words after waking up with no memory in a strange place surrounded by people she doesn't know are not "Where am I?", "Who are you people?" or even "What happened last night?!"
- How Buffy instantly starts protecting Dawn, even if both don't remember being sisters. And how quickly they find out:Dawn: So you dont have a name ?
Buffy: Of course I do !
Dawn raises her eyebrow.
Buffy: ... I just don't happen to know it !
Dawn: (smiles) You want me to name you ?
Buffy: Oh, thats sweet, but I think I can name myself. ... I name me ... Joan !
Dawn: Ugh !
Buffy: What ? ... Did you just "ugh" my name ?
Dawn: No ! I ... just ... I mean its so "bla". "Joan" ?
Buffy: I like it. I feel like a "Joan" !
Dawn: Fine. Thats your purgative.
Dawn: Whatever, "Joan" !
Buffy: Whatever, "Umad" !
Dawn (same time as Buffy): Boy, you're bossy !
Buffy (same time as Dawn): Boy, you're a pain in the ...
They look at each other.
Dawn: You think we're .. ?
Buffy: (smiles) Sisters ?
(They smile and hug)
- Before the memory loss, there's the fact that Spike wants to just ignore what he sang in the previous episode, when he put conditions on being Buffy's confidant about what has been going on -
- As heartbreaking as it is, Tara's breakup with Willow is this for HER - considering that she grew up in a household that tried to control her, wearing down her self-esteem, plus Glory's Mind Rape of her, the fact that Tara is able to put her foot down and walk away from Willow, the woman she loves, shows so much strength, and as much as your heart is breaking seeing her walk away, you can't help but be proud that she is.
- Tara and Dawn, full stop. We see them have a fun day out with a movie and milkshakes and Tara reassures Dawn that even though she and Willow aren't together, she will always be there for her and that she still loves Willow. Later, when Buffy and Willow are out with their nocturnal activites, Tara stays up with Dawn. The next episode opens with the pair of them asleep on the couch.
- After Willow's magic addiction nearly gets Dawn killed in a car wreck, while Buffy fights the demon and confronts Willow, Spike wordlessly takes care of Dawn.
"Dead Things" (6x13)
- Buffy comments that Spike has fixed up his crypt recently and compliments him on it, and they joke around for a couple of seconds. For these brief moments, you can catch a glimpse of the genuine emotional connection between them that was beginning to develop early in the season (and that will develop properly next season) but was mostly lost when they started sleeping together.
- A bit of Fridge heartwarming: Given that he'd gone seasons 4, 5 and 6 up to "Smashed" with his crypt bearing only the basic amenities, it's a pretty safe bet that the reason Spike spontaneously decided to spruce up the place was to make it more comfortable for Buffy.
- A brief moment when Xander and Willow run into Tara as she's leaving the Magic Box - Xander makes his way inside, but before leaving gives Tara a little smile that means nothing more than "It's nice to see you again." For Tara, having left Willow behind and all of the Scoobies, it's nice to see that there's no bitterness whatsoever.
- When Buffy goes to Tara for help she's nothing but supportive, even when Buffy is begging not to be forgiven for all the horrible things she had done.
"Older and Far Away" (6x14)
- Tara watches out for Buffy in regards to the Spike romance (as opposed to thinking she's nuts when a Spuffy romance was hinted at in "Intervention") while subtly protecting her from Spike.
- When they all finally get released after spending two days in the house, everyone leaves and marvels at seeing the sky again...except for Buffy, who voluntarily stays inside to be with Dawn.
"As You Were" (6x15)
- Love him or hate him, Riley delivering a message that Buffy absolutely needs to hear in the midst of her depression is up there: After walking in on her having sex with Spike of all people, he immediately dismisses that Buffy has in any way deviated from the person she should be, despite the difficulties she's having being that person right now, saying "None of that means anything. It doesn't touch you. You are still the first woman I ever loved... and the strongest woman I have ever known."
- Going with the idea that sex with Spike this season has been a metaphor for self-harm, this is even more impactful because this is what gives her the strength to walk away from her method of self-harm.
- The implied reason Spike was "The Doctor" in the first place is heartwarming in a weird sort of way; he himself doesn't really need the money, seeing as he'd have no qualms simply stealing whatever he needs. However, in "Doublemeat Palace", he expressed concern that the depressing atmosphere of the fast food place Buffy was working at would "kill her" and promised he could get her the money she needed to support herself and Dawn. Hence, it's very likely the reason he started dabbling in the demon black-market was to build up some funds so Buffy didn't need to work at that awful place anymore. It almost straddles the line of Tear Jerker, seeing as it's yet another example of how his soullessness can really muddy otherwise good and thoughtful intentions.
"Hell's Bells" (6x17)
- Buffy forcing Xander into his cummerbund and tying his bowtie in a very sisterly manner. She tells him that his and Anya's relationship is "a ray of light in a nasty tunnel".
- Willow finding Xander rehearsing his vows.Willow: I'll say this for the Y chromosome...looks good in a tux.Xander: Well, your double X's don't look too bad there, either.Willow: You're getting married. My little Xander.Xander: All growed up.Willow: It's a good thing I realized I was gay, otherwise, hey, you, me and formal wear...Xander gives a small smile and hugs her.Willow: Do you know how much I love you?Xander: Mmm ... 'bout half as much as I love you.
- Spike's Operation: Jealousy is a bit halfhearted:Spike: Did you meet my friend?
Buffy: No. Not yet. But she seems like a very nice attempt at making me jealous.
Spike: [small smile] Is it working?
Buffy: A little. It doesn't change anything ... but if you're wildly curious, yeah, it hurts.
Spike: [softly] I'm sorry... [remembers himself] Or, good!
Buffy: [smiles fondly]
- Despite their previous breakup, Buffy and Spike don't have any animosity towards each other.Spike: It's nice to watch you be happy. I don't see it a lot. You glow.Buffy: (genuinely smiles)
"Normal Again" (6x17)
- Xander shows up to the house having left Anya at the altar and Buffy and Willow immediately run up and hug him. Regardless of what happened, they're just relieved that their friend's alive.
- Even though it's the hallucination of Joyce saying it, her words to Buffy are what allow her to finally pull through in the real world.Joyce: Buffy? Buffy! Buffy, fight it. You're too good to give in, you can beat this thing. Be strong, baby, ok? I know you're afraid. I know the world feels like a hard place sometimes, but you've got people who love you... You've got a world of strength in your heart, I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself.
- Willow and Tara, right up to the bitter end.Tara: There's just so much to work through. Trust has to be built again on both sides. You have to learn if—if we're even the same people we were. If you can fit in each other's lives. It's a long and important process, and can we just skip it? Can you just be kissing me now?
- The moments where Buffy and Dawn are just bonding. Especially when Buffy makes a joke about Dawn technically being one and a half. You can tell that Buffy has coped with her death and resurrection and Dawn is fine with her origins. It's just... heartwarming.
- Spike is actually genuinely sweet and caring to Anya, making it clear to her that there is nothing wrong with her and the wedding failing wasn't her fault.
"Seeing Red" (6x19)
- Dawn's reaction to finding out that Willow and Tara are back together is utterly adorable.
- This sweet exchange:Xander: I don't know what I'd do ... without you and Will.
Buffy: (teary) Let's not find out.
- After Tara's death, Willow loads up on dark magic. Does she go after Warren at this point? No, she goes to the hospital, where Buffy is critical after being shot, and uses magic to save her life. Of course, Willow then uses the bullet used on Buffy to torture Warren.
"Two to Go" (6x21)
- While Buffy fights Dark Willow, Xander and Dawn escape the magic shop with Jonathan and Andrew while Anya stays behind to perform a spell. In spite of their messy breakup, Xander tries to get Anya to come with them, but she bravely stays behind and tells him to go and do something useful. Next episode, he does exactly that.
- The bit when Giles has not just had a Moment of Awesome, which already makes you very pro-Giles, but in the midst of all the trauma and drama, he suddenly stops and looks at Buffy and says "You cut your hair!" Both are just tiny moments that make it clear a) how strong the bond is between Buffy and Giles and b) what a fricking awesome actor Tony Head is. As in "Hush", someone else (Anya) wants what Buffy has with Giles, and doesn't quite get it.
- Giles and Buffy catching up and laughing off a year's worth of intense psychological trauma.
- Anya's reaction to Giles coming is rather sweet too. When Giles turns and comments on Buffy's hair and they hug, Anya timidly mentions that she's blonde now, clearly wanting attention from Giles, who hugs her too.
- For the entirety of Season 6, Buffy is mired in her own angst, self-absorbed and neglectful of her sister; much of that same season, Dawn behaves like a prototypical Annoying Younger Sibling (shoplifting, running with the wrong crowd, etc). Then, in the final act, the two women find themselves alone—and surrounded by a horde of demons. Trapped, Buffy has no choice but to throw Dawn a sword and ask her to fight. Dawn takes a hit and goes down, losing her sword; Buffy sees her fall, but is unable to help. Then, just as the demon 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 beast in a single stroke. Buffy can only stare in disbelief. Also a CMOA for Dawn.Dawn: (tiny smile) What... you think I never watched you?
- Xander saving the world from Dark Willow by repeatedly saying "I love you" and standing his ground, enduring her attacks. Say what you will about Xander, but his speech is one of the most moving True Companions moments in the series. Also qualifies as a Moment of Awesome.Xander: The first day of kindergarten, you cried because you broke the yellow crayon and you were too afraid to tell anyone. You've come pretty far. Ending the world - not a terrific notion. But the thing is... yeah, I love you. I love crayon-breaky Willow and I love scary, veiny Willow. So if I'm goin' out, it's here. If you wanna kill the world, well, then start with me. I've earned that.
Willow: You think I won't?
Xander: It doesn't matter. I'll still love you.
- The subsequent scene between Buffy and Dawn.Buffy: I don't wanna protect you from the world... I wanna show it to you.
- The reason Spike went through the trials:
- Cave Demon: You have endured the required trials.
- Spike: Bloody right I have. So you give me what I want. Make me what I was, so Buffy can get what she deserves.
- Cave Demon: Very well. We will return your soul.
"Same Time, Same Place" (7x03)
- Buffy, Dawn, and Xander are waiting to pick up Willow at the airport. Buffy and Dawn are clearly more than a little nervous about what it will be like seeing her again, wondering whether she's really gone back to the way she was and unsure of what to say to her. Xander says, slightly pointedly, that he plans on saying "Hi, Willow." And he's holding a sign saying "Welcome Back, Willow" in yellow crayon.
- Buffy and Willow healing together at the end. In their jammies, no less!
- Willow visiting Tara's grave, with Xander there for support. Also, the fact that both of them are happy for Buffy's new job as a counsellor, having the greatest confidence that the kids of Sunnydale High are in safe hands.
- A student confesses to Buffy that he might be gay. Given that her best friend is gay, she's immediately understanding and accepting.
- Cassie figures out that Buffy sent Dawn to find out information about her, but she doesn't care because it meant that they got to be friends.
- A tearful Dawn reassures Buffy that she didn't fail Cassie.You didn't 'cause you tried. You listened and you tried. She died 'cause of her heart, not 'cause of you. She was my friend 'cause of you.
- Before they part ways at the end, the exchange between Xander and Anya has two important layers to it; Xander proving that all he wants is to just be there to support Anya and that he still loves her, while Anya finally takes the first step in creating her own identity since her original life as Aud.Xander: Whatever's between us, it doesn't matter. You shouldn't be alone in this.
Anya: Yes I should. My whole life, I've just clung to whatever came along.
Xander: Well, speaking as a clingee, I kinda didn't mind.
Anya: Thanks, for everything... [Xander starts to walk away.] Xander? What if I'm really nobody?
Xander: Don't be a dope.
Anya: I'm a dope?
Anya: Well that's a start.
- It's a hallucination, but Spike reminiscing about Drusilla (especially the "I can see stars" conversation in "Innocence") and how all he sees is her. Dru doesn't exactly get a lot of compassion later on considering her Driven to Madness backstory, and it's sweet that he's empathizing now that he's crazy too.
- Buffy telling Dawn not to kill herself over RJ. Buffy (and Dawn) were under a massively powerful love spell towards RJ during this moment, and yet next to Dawn's life it meant nothing.Buffy: No guy is worth your life, not ever!
Dawn: RJ is! And don't say he isn't, look what you were willing to do.
Buffy: Dawn, I would give him to you in a second if I could. That's how much you're scaring me.
Dawn: But I-I thought you wanted him for you.
Buffy: Nah. Well, yeah... my God that boy is hot... *shakes her head* Sorry, I think I might be under a spell here.
"Never Leave Me" (7x09)
- Buffy's speech to Spike:Buffy: Listen to me. You're not alive because of hate or pain. You're alive because I saw you change. Because I saw your penance... Be easier, wouldn't it, if it were an act? But it's not. You faced the monster inside of you, and you fought back. You risked everything to be a better man. And you can be. You are. You may not see it, but I do. I do. I believe in you, Spike.
- Buffy coming to rescue Spike from the First. At first, Spike just thinks that the First has taken Buffy's form again, but he's shocked when Buffy reaches over and cuts his chains. He puts his hand on her shoulder in disbelief and Buffy just stares firmly at Spike, tears in her eyes. Spike, both touched and in relief, quickly starts breaking down in sobs as Buffy helps walk him out of the cave.
- Xander and Dawn's conversation:Xander: They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn't chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody's watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You're not special. You're extraordinary.
Dawn: Maybe that's your power.
Dawn: Seeing. Knowing.
"The Killer in Me" (7x13)
- Wennedy's first kiss, showing (in spite of the wackiness that ensued) that even though Willow misses Tara, she's not going to be miserable for the rest of her life, and their second kiss showing her that she doesn't need to feel guilty, that she's not betraying Tara by falling in love again.
"Get it Done" (7x15)
- The episode ends with Buffy thanking Willow for bringing her back (again) and admitting that she was too hard on everyone. Willow replies that she wasn't, "Although twinkies and kisses are good motivators".
- Anya & Xander talking it out. Andrew filmed it and spoke all of Anya's lines."I hope you know you'll always be in my heart."
"Dirty Girls" (7x18)
- Xander's Rousing Speech to the Potentials. It's enough to reduce Dawn and Andrew to tears.I've been through more battles with Buffy than you all can ever imagine. She's stopped everything that's ever come up against her. She's laid down her lifeliterallyto protect the people around her. This girl has died two times, and she's still standing. You're scared? That's smart. You got questions? You should. But you doubt her motives, you think Buffy's all about the kill, then you take the little bus to battle. I've seen her heart, and this timenot literally. And I'm telling you, right now, she cares more about your lives than you will ever know. You gotta trust her. She's earned it.
Faith: Damn. I never knew you were that cool.
- Midway through, Buffy and Faith walk in and Buffy starts to tear up. Whatever doubts she had about her leadership were erased then.
"Empty Places" (7x19)
- When Xander returns from the hospital, everyone throughs him a welcome home party. Dawn even runs up an hugs him.
- Awful as Buffy getting kicked out of her house was, she clearly bears no grudge to Faith, who made it clear that she didn't want to be in charge.Faith: Hey. Look, I swear I didn't want it to go this wayBuffy: (sternly) Don't.Faith: I mean it, I—Buffy: Don't...be afraid to lead them.
- A brief moment during the first scene where the Scoobies and the Potentials have deteriorated into bickering among themselves following Buffy's expulsion, Giles comforts Dawn, who is no doubt feeling awful having told her to leave.
- You wouldn't really expect it, but when The First appears to Faith as The Mayor, it seems that some of the late Big Bad's affection for his former minion still remainsThe Mayor: I'll always be with you, firecracker. In everything you do.
- Spike's speech to Buffy where we can see shades of the ensouled poet he once was.Spike: You listen to me. I've been alive a bit longer than you, and dead a lot longer than that. I've seen things you couldn't imagine, and done things I'd prefer you didn't. I don't exactly have a reputation for being a thinker. I follow my blood, which doesn't exactly rush in the direction of my brain. So I make a lot of mistakes. A lot of wrong bloody calls. A hundred plus years, and there's only one thing I've ever been sure of. You... Hey, look at me. I'm not asking you for anything. When I say I love you, it's not because I want you, or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you... and I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You are a hell of a woman. You're the one, Buffy."
- And afterwards, when Buffy asks Spike to stay with her and hold her while she sleeps.
- It's also worth pointing out that the scene showing Spike holding Buffy... it's part of a montage where the other couples are having sex. Everyone else is bonking, but for Spike it's enough to hold Buffy and comfort her.
- And despite being the only couple who didn't have sex, they're a little awkward over the intimacy of it by the next day. Spike admits, embarrassed, that even if it hadn't meant much to Buffy, it had been the best night of his life. She admits it meant a lot to her, and they end up spending the next night holding each other too.
- While planning the raid on the vineyard, Faith instructs Willow, Xander, Giles and Dawn to find and keep an eye on Buffy. Even with all that's going on, she just wants to make sure she's okay. Also, she choses those closest to Buffy for this in order to keep them away from the real danger.
"End of Days" (7x21)
- Anya and Andrew's whole scene while getting medical supplies in It's just full of genuine sentiment delivered in a brilliant and offbeat way, and features one of the most affecting Patrick Stewart Speeches in Buffyverse history:Anya: Last time there was an apocalypse, I skedaddled. I was kind of new to being human then. But now, I've been around them a lot more, and I've realized how... screwed up they all are. I mean, really, really screwed up in a monumental fashion.
Anya: And they have no purpose that unites them, so they just drift around, blundering through life until they die. Which they know is coming and yet every single one of them is surprised when it happens to them. They're incapable of thinking about what they want beyond the moment. They kill each other, which is clearly insane, and yet, here's the thing. When it's something that really matters, they fight. I mean, they're lame morons for fighting, but they do. They never... They never quit. And so I guess I will keep fighting, too.
Andrew: That was kind of beautiful. Oh my god, you... you love humans.
Anya: I do not.
Andrew: Yes you do. You lurrrrrve them.
Anya: Shut up! I don't love them and if you tell anyone I'll kill you.
Andrew: I'll probably die here anyway.
Anya: I don't know, you might make it through.
Andrew: No, you might make it through. You know how to handle a weapon, and-and you've been in this world for, like, a thousand years. I'm not so... I don't think I'll be okay. I'm cool with it. I think I'd like to finish out as one of those lame humans trying to do what's right.
Anya: Yeah [pause]
Andrew: So, wheelchair fight? [shot of them having a wheelchair fight]
- Though this scene is rather sad as well, seeing as how Anya dies saving Andrew in the finale, the very next episode.
- Buffy visiting a bed-ridden Faith to reassure her that the second attack on the vineyard wasn't her fault. By the end of the scene, these two who started out as rivals, then friends and allies, then mortal enemies, finally make peace with each other.
- Buffy and Spike talk about their previous night together, and Spike admits that the simple act of being able to hold her for a night was the greatest night of his life.
- In "Lies My Parents Told Me", Buffy admitted to Giles that she was willing to sacrifice anyone if it meant beating the First, even Dawn. Here, she entrusts Xander with getting Dawn away from the battle, knowing that his missing eye will be a liability.
- The fact that Xander is still willing to fight by Buffy's side in spite of everything. She then tells him that she wouldn't have given him this assignment if she didn't trust him.
- Angel showing up to give Buffy the scythe and to offer her his support with fighting The First.
- Following Buffy's famous "cookie dough" speech, her telling Angel that even though she's still trying to figure herself out as an adult, that she still does think about her future and who she wants to share it with, the implication that all is not said and done when it comes to the possibility of their ever being together again.
- Not to mention the fact that the first thing these two do upon seeing one another again for the first time in a year is make out.
- Buffy returns home to the basement after her talk with Angel to a miffed Spike, who confronts her about the kiss and pridefully refutes her sleeping with him that night. Buffy agrees morosely then turns back to climb the stairs, only for Spike to immediately backpedal and offer to let her stay with him again. She accepts, to both of their immense relief.
- While also kind of funny, Xander, Amanda, Giles and Andrew playing dungeons and dragons to relieve tension, and Xander saying that only the crazy ones could sleep fine on a night like this before the camera zooms out to show that Anya is asleep next to them and Xander affectionately rubs her head.
- Right before the big battle, we get a funny scene of the core four just talking nonsense in school like the old days. Even after everything that's happened this season, the bond between them is still intact.
- Buffy and Xander briefly holding hands before heading off.
- Buffy and Spike's farewell. The former Big Bad finds redemption by sacrificing himself to destroy the Hellmouth. (Don't worry, he got better).
- Dawn running up and hugging Buffy when she survives the battle.
- If an Unfinished Episode counts, one proposed storyline had Buffy come across a well that would grant her one wish, no side effects, no hidden trade, no future consequences, nothing. Buffy contemplates what to wish for, something to help stop The First, Angel turned human, bringing her mother back, any number of things that would be very meaningful. What does she wish for? When she next sees Willow she has new shoes, and she thinks that's what Buffy used the wish for. Not quite, suddenly Tara appears. Back from the Dead. Buffy loves Willow that much, thinks that highly of Tara that she gave up everything for this.
- A somewhat dark one for Wolves at the Gate. Throughout the season Buffy had been trying to steer Xander and Renee together. When it looks like it might happen Renee is brutally murdered, after Buffy had declared war for the death of another Slayer. After Xander kills the vampire responsible Buffy orders every last one of them slaughtered, while trying to comfort Xander.
- Dracula declaring that Xander was not alone in the battle and going borderline Papa Wolf also counts.
- In Predators and Prey after Andrew apologizes to Buffy for screwing up and lying to her, she tells him she was only mad at him for lying, and that he should get used to screwing up since he's part of the family now.
- Connor, after revealing that his fake memories don't exist anymore:Connor: "But I don't need fake happy memories. I've made enough real ones. Thanks to you. You gave me what I needed until I could stand on my own. That's what a parent does, right? A good one, anyway."
- When Buffy thinks she's pregnant she seeks out Robin, as his mother was a Slayer. He tells her what that was like and explains how Buffy is better, and that perhaps she should have the baby, if she allows her friends to help.
- Spike offers both to help raise Buffy's child if she chooses to keep it, as well as unwavering support if she chooses not to.
- Meanwhile Detective Dowling arranges for Spike to show him the world of vampires. They end up talking about Buffy, and after several questions Spike shoots down the idea of them still being in a relationship, before guessing the detective fancies Buffy, and says he would want her with no one else but someone who has shown to be a genuine Nice Guy.
- From Family Reunion"And I'd sell my soul to have my dad love me like you love Connor."
- Giles's Aunts, whose defining characteristics are selfishness and vanity, helping the people of London who are mutating due to magic is a very sweet moment.
- At the end of Angel and Faith, Giles prepares to leave. He and Angel, despite everything they've been through and the (understandable) tension between them that's lasted so long even at its best, part on genuinely good terms, with some measure of true reconciliation between them after Angel's actions in trying to bring him Back from the Dead in atonement. He even assures Angel that he'll let him know when (or if) Buffy is ready to see him again in the future.
- Dawn begins to fade away due to the world losing its magic, given that she is technically the product of a spell. Spike returns from his hiatus just in time to care for her, noting that he's not there for Buffy, but for his "Little Bit". As Dawn's memories begin to fade as she does, Spike makes sure to sit her down and keep reminding her who she is and who her friends are.
- When it seems like Buffy and the others might not be able to get to the new magic seed fast enough, he also makes sure to get Xander on the phone with her so they can be together for what may be her last moments.
- Dracula initially thinks that his control over Xander being broken by the book means they'll never see each other again. Xander instead tells him that this means they can try actually being friends instead of Xander being Dracula's thralled servant, which touches Dracula so much he actually calls Xander by his name.
- Clem and Harmony drop by to attempt to use the Vampyr book for Harmony to build her ideal world with it, but Clem doesn't write any of it down. When Harmony demands why, he explains that he worries about the Book's monkey paw qualities, but more importantly that he wants the world to love Harmony because they love her and not because of a magic book. Annoyed, Harmony storms out of the Scoobies' apartment building only to come face to face with a unicorn—the one thing Harmony had wanted that Clem had written down.
- The fact that Spike was confident Clem hadn't written anything down, as by his own admission, Clem has a good head on his shoulders.
- Andrew attempts to atone for Tara's death by bringing her back to life while using the Vampyr book to make sure nothing goes wrong. Willow finds him just in time and manages to talk him out of it, apologizing if the Scoobies had made him feel like an outsider who needed to prove himself to them to be accepted.
- Meanwhile, Buffy and Spike are fighting off a soul-devouring demon. Once it's briefly subdued, Spike pulls Buffy aside as asks that she stake him should it eat his soul, as he'd rather die than return to being "him". Buffy emphatically refuses, saying that his demon wasn't so bad because he saved the Scoobies several times over, looked out for Dawn and loved her. Spike mournfully says that he was too selfish to love Buffy for real, but Buffy is quick to point out selfishness is a very human trait and that he had always had so much good in him that it didn't need a soul to come out.
- Andrew comes out of the closet. Xander is initially over-enthusiastic about it but Andrew is okay with that since it help him deal with how big a thing it feels like to him.
- Spike saving a litter of kittens from kitten poker and bringing them home to live with him and Xander. Later issues show he kept at least some and genuinely enjoys them.
- Buffy's journey through Spike's memories lets her see how much he loves her. As Willow points out, there's nobody in his mind who he views in quite the same adoring, etherial light.
- The above enables Buffy to help Spike break from Archaeus' control later, since he now sees her too when he remembers his Slayer of Slayers days and it pulls him out of it.
- Buffy accidentally blurting out a Love Confession when she misunderstands how vampirism works with respect to the demon who began their line.Buffy: Angel and Spike? I literally fell in love with the same guy twice?
- Issue #14's alternate cover shows Xander, young!Giles, Spike, and Andrew cheerfully playing video games together. Compare that to the show's frequency of Xander's lacking male friends, Spike's general isolation from the Scoobies, Giles' current insecurity, and Andrew's awkwardness and be happy that they're in better places now.
- Just the fact that Spike and Xander are now friends. Spike is willing to be honest with Xander about his problems, even about the odd dreams Archaeus was sending him. Xander likewise is willing to support Spike or call him out, whichever is needed.
- During Old Demons, Angel comes to San Francisco to help the Scoobies against Archaeus, and finally manages to make peace with them after his actions as Twilight in Season 8, particularly killing Giles. Even Xander, who's always hated him, gets in on it, citing his recent therapy sessions. What stands out is his and Buffy's heart-to-heart in the first part of the arc:Angel: Listen... you all asked me here, but you know you can tell me to get lost, right? I wouldn't blame you, after what I did to you... to Giles.
Buffy: You brought him back.
Angel: Without thinking how it might affect him. How it did affect him. Anyway, that doesn't take back the choices I made, or should've made, but didn't. I know it doesn't mean much, but I am so sorry.
Buffy: ...It means more than you think.
- Despite how tense it was between them for a majority of Angel's cameo, Spike and Angel part on relatively pleasant terms (for them anyways).
- After getting back together, Buffy and Spike encounter several moments throughout the season that would probably have spelled a breakup back in the TV Show. However they're older and wiser now and handle all of them fairly maturely, confronting the issues together and talking them out. Despite several teases by the writers, they're still together at the end of the season.
- The general way the Buffy and Spike romance is portrayed and how it juxtaposes next to their Destructive Romance of season 6. Theyre honest about their fears and doubts, they apologize when needed and work things out in a mature, level-headed way. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the sexual aspect of the relationship is heavily downplayed even though its implied that they still have an active sex-life as a couple—besides one scene, its only ever referenced in dialogue. Instead, casual affection is emphasized and its rare that theyre next to each other in a panel and arent holding hands or have an arm slung around the other. Thats heartwarming by itself, but when compared to the toxic, dysfunctional and intensely sexual relationship theyd once had, its doubly heartwarming to see that theyve come so far and now make each other so genuinely happy.
- The reveal that the ghost of Anya who isn't really Anya became enough like her to spare Xander and protect the Scoobies from D'Hoffryn.
- The ghost Anya assurring Xander that he is a good man, that she forgives him, and that the real Anya would have too, before passing away. Her cremation urn is later seen in the Scoobies' apartments, meaning they intend to give her the proper send off they never could give the original Anya.
- The finale, which has been described as possibly the most heartwarming and least depressing Buffy season finale ever. Earn Your Happy Ending indeed.
- Dracula gets misty-eyed at Dawn and Xander being back together. He's so happy for his friend.
- As Buffy explains to Jordan that she can't paint all supernaturals with the same brush, she reaches over to hold Spike's hand.
- Spike and Willow deciding to surrender and go to the Safe Zone to avoid any more violence between the Scoobies and the group of Slayers who'd come to collect them.
- Buffy deciding to go with them, even though she has immunity as a Slayer.
- Buffy decides to become a trustee within the Safe Zone in order to get Spike more blood rations, as she worries about him vamping out and hurting someone innocent, thus getting himself dusted.
- In general, the way Riley and Sam help out Buffy and co. at the risk of their own positions within the army.
- Willow and Buffy's mutual pep-talks toward each other that give them the confidence to break into the safe zone and get their powers back.
- Buffy's Love Confession to Spike in the final issue. It's the first time she's actually said that to him since his Heroic Sacrifice in the TV finale.
- A bit of Fridge Brilliance that adds to just how heartwarming it is; she'd tried to confess her love to him earlier in the season just before getting depowered, but he had shushed her and asked that she wait until they reunite to say it. The implication is that because her only other confession was back in "Chosen", something that he (rightfully or not) assumed was her trying to let him die happy, and didn't want another confession under dire circumstances that she may not entirely mean. Buffy, to her credit, seems to realize this and thus does not finish her confession when they actually reunite a couple issues later. When does she confess instead? At the end, when the enemy has been defeated and they're safely back home with their friends and loved ones.
- Buffy and Spike's relationship as of this season. She and Spike have broken up in the Time Skip between Seasons 11 and 12, but it was a mutual decision, and they remain close Amicable Exes, every interaction they have being far less awkward and tense than any of of Buffy's and Angel's post-Season 3.
- Giles So Proud of You speech to Buffy in the penultimate issue. Buffy is actually moved to tears.Giles: If I may say, Buffy... you have surpassed every hope and ambition I ever had for you. I never had any children of my own... and it's probably just as well. Because I cannot imagine how they could ever compare to you.
- How the series ends. After years of pain and suffering caused by monster hunting, the Scoobies finally get a happy ending. Buffy and Faith have joined the police academy, Giles is rebuilding the Watchers Council, Willow is running a woman's empowerment center that changes Fray's time period for the better, Xander and Dawn are settled down with a baby daughter, and while Buffy doesn't end up with either Angel or Spike in the end, she remains close friends with both.
- When Luke Perry, who played Pike in the original movie, tragically died in 2019, Joss Whedon paid tribute on Twitter.The first time I met Luke Perry we talked about what kind of movie we wanted Buffy to be. I asked if he'd ever seen Near Dark and he gave me a look of HOW DARE YOU SIR and I knew we'd get along. Funny, committed, and always gracious. He shouldn't be gone.
- Anthony Stewart Head would bring his daughters onset and Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan were like big sisters to them. Buffy's a Cool Big Sis, even in Real Life.
- James Marsters was so affected by the infamous bathroom scene in "Seeing Red" that he had it placed in his contract that he would NEVER do rape scenes. To this day, he seems to have difficulty talking about the scene. That speaks volumes about who he is in real life.
- On January 19th 2021, Gellar shared an Instagram post to celebrate Buffy's 40th birthday.
- In 2021, Charisma Carpenter shared a lengthy Twitter post accusing Whedon of abuse on both this show and Angel. Nearly every single castmember on both shows backed her up.