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Tear Jerker / Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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"...Mom? ...Mom? ...Mommy?"

"Ooh, I need a hug."
The grarg,
at the end of "Becoming, Part Two".

As a show about the pains of growing up, seen through the filter of a fight against forces of Evil and Darkness on an everyday basis, Buffy the Vampire Slayer naturally has no shortage of shattering moments. This is pretty much the norm for Joss Whedon. The Scooby Gang suffers through a lot in their time at Sunnydale, and while they keep on fighting through it all, that doesn't mean that the sad moments aren't any less powerful.

Some of the most notable examples include:

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    Season 1
"Giles, I'm 16 years old. I don't wanna die."

  • The early season deaths of Dr. Gregory and Principal Flutie, two teachers who were mentors to Buffy and supported her in escaping her reputation as a delinquent.
  • "The Witch", especially the scene where Amy tells Buffy and Giles what Catherine has done. Poor, poor girl. This quote in particular:
    She told me I didn't deserve to have it so easy, that I didn't know what it was like, to be her... I guess she showed me, huh?
  • In "Nightmares," the conversation between Buffy and her dad. Buffy doesn't even know what's going on yet, that they're just nightmares, and then her dad comes and says that it's her fault he and her mom broke up, and she's so much less than he hoped. And oh, by the way, he doesn't really get much out of these father-daughter weekends, so let's just stop them.
    • Also, when they see Buffy's grave which is Giles' nightmare.
      Giles: I failed... in my duty to protect you. I should have been more cautious. Taken more time to train you. (choking up) But you were so gifted... and the evil was so great... (whispering) I'm sorry.
  • Cordelia's main purpose in season one was to appear, trade a few zingers, and scream. But in the episode "Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight", she gets a sudden burst of Character Development, in seeing her speak with Buffy about how she DOES feel alone, but she'd rather be alone in the crowd than alone on her own. It's the first glimpse of Cordy behind the Alpha Bitch routine, and we see the scared, lonely, teenage girl she is:
    Cordelia: Please! I don't have anyone else to turn to!
  • Anything capable of reducing Buffy to tears is a Tear Jerker. For example, the scene in "Prophecy Girl" where she learns of her imminent death:
    "Do you think it'll hurt?"
    • In the same episode:
      "I don't care! ...I don't care. Giles, I'm sixteen years old. I don't wanna die."
      • Made even worse by the fact that the second "I don't care..." is said in a way that shows without a doubt that it's a lie. She cares. Of course she cares. But... well, she's sixteen years old, and she doesn't want to die.
    • She looks terribly young in this scene. For all her badassery and confidence (and the Dawson Casting) it really hits home that she's still just a girl, condemned to death and scared out of her mind.
    • Willow when Buffy's at her side after the AV club massacre.
      Willow: I thought I could take anything. But, Buffy, this... this was different.
      Buffy: It'll be alright.
      Willow: I'm trying to think how to say it... to explain it so you understand.
      Buffy: It doesn't matter as long as you're okay.
      Willow: I'm not okay. I knew those guys. I go to that room every day. And when I walked in there, it... it wasn't our world anymore. They made it theirs. And they had fun.
    • For me, the bigger Tear Jerker was Cordelia in this episode. Right before they stumbled onto the bodies, she was telling Willow about how she was really starting to fall in love with her boyfriend, and how instead of being mad that he was "watching cartoons" instead of helping her, she found it cute. She never felt that way about a guy before, and just as she was starting to, she stumbles onto his dead body.
      • To add to that, she's having this conversation with WILLOW of all people. The same girl who she tore down in the first episode. But here, for this brief moment, she opens up and exposes something vulnerable to her. Despite the fact that they aren't close, because Willow, as a member of the Scoobies, helped to protect her in the previous episode, Cordelia is willing to be more open with her than she is with her flock of popular friends.

    Season 2
"Close your eyes."
  • A minor, overlooked one from "When She Was Bad", where Buffy shows off just how not okay she is by destroying the Master's bones, then completely breaking down in Angel's arms.
    • Earlier in the episode, after Buffy's incredibly low moment with Xander - it's Cordelia of all people who calls her out. Cordy is as serious as we've seen her yet, and warns Buffy that she shouldn't treat her friends like that.
  • In "Some Assembly Required", 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-I'm the Watcher, I'm responsible for her, I have to go.
  • The fate of the real Ampata in "Inca Mummy Girl". he was only supposed to be in Sunnydale for a couple of weeks. Instead, he is killed as he stepped off the bus and stuffed into his own trunk. I'd hate to be the one to tell his parents about his fate.
    • And the brutal fact of the matter, is that his body was probably never found. Buffy explaining that the trunk in her room's owner was an ancient Incan mummy, who, by the way is dead now? They probably just buried it in the cemetery.
    • The titular Mummy Girl's fate is also sad when you consider how she was killed so many years ago, never really getting a chance to live her own life or anything, and when she does it comes at the price of killing people, repeatedly.
  • An odd, rare, villainous one: when Drusilla has Angel tied up. It's dreadful because you know just what happened to Drusilla to make her the way she is, and just how penitent Angel is about what he's done:
    Drusilla: The lamb is caught in the blackberry patch. [approaches Angel with holy water] My mummy ate lemons. Raw. She said she loved the way they made her mouth... tingle. Little Anne. [pours some on him] Her favorite was custard... brandied pears.
    Angel: Dru...
    Drusilla: [sternly] Shhh! And pomegranates. They used to make her face and fingers all red. [more pouring] Remember? Hmm? Little fingers. Little hands. Do you?
    Angel: [struggling to speak] If I could...
    Drusilla: [interrupts angrily] Bite your tongue! They used to eat cake, and eggs, and honey. Until you came and ripped their throats out!
  • The ending of "Lie To Me" as well. Buffy asks Giles if life ever gets easy and tells him to lie to her.
    Giles: Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.
    Buffy: Liar.
  • A small one. In "Ted" Buffy is wigged over her mother's new boyfriend. There's something really off about him, and when she fails trying to voice her concerns and makes herself look like a heel she's swinging pensively on a swing, waiting for something to slay.
    "Vampires? Heeeere vampires..."
    • The car ride home from the police station after Ted's presumed death, where Buffy, after he forcibly grabs her and shoves her, tossed him down the stairs and apparently killed him. Though Buffy says he struck her first, there's no evidence, courtesy of her Slayer healing. Buffy and Joyce are right next to each other in the car, but it so clearly might as well be opposite ends of the earth, and you wonder how the mother-daughter dynamic can survive this.
  • Another tiny one in "Bad Eggs" when Angel confesses to Buffy that vampires can't have children.
  • The scene in "Innocence" where Buffy takes off the claddagh ring, curls up in bed, and cries.
    • Stealth Tear Jerker. Buffy, left devastated and shellshocked is on the couch with her mother, and it dawns on her (and us, the audience) that it's still Buffy's birthday. Joyce asks Buffy about her day; due to The Masquerade, Buffy can only respond "I got older". Joyce lights her cupcake and, instead of making a wish, Buffy opts to just "let it burn." It's only when you watch the series in its entirety that it becomes so clearly obvious just how shattered Buffy is in this moment. Tear Jerker indeed.
      • The song that play's in the background, from the movie their watching, originally an innocent little love song from a cute Shirley Temple movie now has a finite connotation in regards to her first real love. "Goodnight My Love" just the moment when the music swells back up as Buffy seeks comfort in her mother's arms and fades to black.
    • Willow catching Xander; the boy she's always pined for, kissing Cordelia; the Alpha Bitch who made their life a misery for years. Xander tries to argue that It Doesn't Mean Anything. Willow replies, "No. It just means you'd rather be with someone you hate... than be with me."
    • The moment after Angelus shoves Buffy, she stays sitting on the floor, staring at nothing.
  • How about Giles discovering Jenny's corpse at the end of what looks like a setup for a romantic encounter in "Passion"?
    • Apparently, the viewers were originally not going to be aware that she was dead at that scene - knowing it and seeing Giles' pleased reaction to the setup makes it so much worse.
    • And then they put the rose scene in the title sequence. Just in case anyone forgot that heartwrenching moment.
      • They also have a brief clip of the exact moment Angel snaps Jenny's neck in the title sequence. Because we want to be reminded of that every time we see an episode, apparently.
    • Seeing the reactions of Buffy and Willow through the window when they find out about her death.
    • The same applies for the swelling music when Giles finds her on the bed with her neck snapped. The O Soave Fanciulla aria from Puccini's La Bohème is Awesome Music and already a Tear Jerker in itself, but the use in this scene is heartbreaking.
    • Buffy confronting Giles after his suicidal attack on Angelus, screaming at him that she can't do this alone, while bawling an apology for not having been strong enough emotionally to fight and kill Angel before he could have killed Jenny. And then they both break down crying on each other's shoulders.
      • Harsher in Hindsight / Be Careful What You Wish For: Willow had previously, on seeing that Jenny had made it to school after all, complained that all of her hours of preparation for subbing the class had gone "down the drain."
      • And at the end of the episode, Willow is taking Jenny's class. The pain in her voice as she talks about picking up where Jenny left off is very subtle but everything is in there.
  • Jenny's death in "Passion" actually manages to retroactively make any prior scene with her difficult to watch. Especially since she and Giles go through so many problems and hold-ups in their relationship, it's hard not to wish they would just get it together to be happy in what little time they have left.
    • Notably the scene at the end of "The Dark Age", when Jenny breaks off her budding relationship with Giles after being possessed by a demon from his youth. Actually, even without knowing her eventual fate, that scene is pretty tearjerking. He tells her he wants to help, but when he reaches out to touch her arm, she pulls away, and it's clear that something has irrevocably broken between them.
  • When Willow gives Giles the rose quartz necklace that she found in Jenny's desk.
  • Any time the tune 'Remembering Jenny' is played, it's a good idea to reach for the tissues.
  • Giles so desperate to believe the poltergeist in "I Only Have Eyes For You" is Jenny, against all the evidence and his usual careful self - it's wrenching. When he finally accepts the truth his expression is so very bleak.
    Willow: Giles..?
    Giles: What?
    Willow: Jenny could never be this mean.
    Giles: I know. I—
  • Also, Buffy and Angel's reenactment of the poltergeist's doomed romance, an obvious foil to their own. Apart from realizing Buffy still very much blames herself for what happened, Gellar's acting really sells how heartbroken and desperate Buffy is. (This might also count as heartwarming, given Angel's forgiveness (albeit through Grace) and how Angelus himself seems shaken afterwords.)
    Buffy: I don't give a *damn* about a normal life! I'm going crazy not seeing you. I think about you every minute.
    Buffy: You don't care anymore, is that it?
    Angelus: It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter what I feel.
    Buffy: Then tell me you don't love me!
    Angelus: It wasn't your fault. [...] You thought I stopped loving you. But I never did. I loved you with my last breath.
  • In "Becoming, Part 1", we see a flashback to a sane, human, innocent and well-intentioned Drusilla back in 1860, thinking she is performing confession to her priest- who is actually Angelus in disguise. She confesses about her terrifying and agonising visions, and you see just how scared and utterly helpless she is. pre-soul Angel then goes on to tell her that she is the spawn of the devil and that for her, there is no salvation. The way that she begs him for his help is absolutely heartbreaking, especially seeing as you know what Angel does to her further down the line, and what he turns her into. At the very worst, Drusilla is a Jerkass Woobie.
    • We get Buffy that is off to fight Angel while everyone else is still at the library with the spell to restore Angel's soul, only at this point vampires start popping up and taking everyone out from Willow to Xander to Giles, and then Drusilla comes in and offs Kendra. Aside from Buffy (who actually gave herself up to The Master last season instead of losing to him in a fatal fight), this is the first time we've really seen a vampire slayer lose in a fight - and their life. What follows is Giles being taken away by Drusilla and Buffy arriving back at the school all too late, with the music that had been playing throughout this whole scene finally coming to an end, with Buffy running back to the library in slow motion and we even hear the sound of Kendra's heartbeat fading and stopping just as Buffy gets there.
  • Angel's death in "Becoming, Part 2".
    • When Drusilla hypnotises Giles and pretends to be Jenny Calendar.
      Giles: Jenny! I thought I'd lost you.
      Dru/Jenny: Shh. I'll never leave you.
      Giles: We have to get out of here.
      Dru/Jenny: No-no-no-no-no. Slowly.
      Giles: It can't be you.
      Dru/Jenny: Did you tell Angel? About the ritual?
      Giles: No. We have to get... him away from Acathla.
      Dru/Jenny: Why? Is he close to figuring it out?
      Giles: Later.
      Dru/Jenny: Tell me what to do.
    • "If you walk out that door, don't even think about coming back." Oh God, Buffy...
    • It doesn't seem like much of an exaggeration to say that the last 10 minutes of Becoming pt. 2 are the saddest 10 minutes of the entirety of all of Buffy. Even knowing what comes later doesn't lessen the impact.
    • The music accompanying it ("Full of Grace" by Sarah McLachlan) makes it even worse. Wanna break a Buffy fan's heart in five words? "Winter is cold and bitter..."
      • "Full of Grace" is just the icing on the sad cake. Before that we get the return of the Buffy/Angel love theme which had been weaving through the early season, then had been absent for the most part (I believe after Innocence). That theme playing again was like a dam breaking.
      • It gets so bad that even the Mutant Enemy mascot that pops up after the end credits breaks its usual demeanor to instead dejectedly state "Oh, I need a hug!" You know things are depressing when even the mascot starts crying.

    Season 3
"Am I a thing worth saving, huh? Am I a righteous man? The world wants me gone."

"What about me?"
  • Quite a lot of "Anne", but especially:
    • The sheer emptiness of Buffy's life in the city, highlighted by a moment when one of the patrons slaps her bum and she doesn't even react.
    • Joyce telling Giles that she blames him for Buffy's departure
    • The fate of Sickeningly Sweethearts Ricky and Lily, and by implication that of every victim: worked to old age in the foundry, then left on the street to die before anyone has even noticed they're missing. Buffy freed six out of dozens, and the portal closed behind her.
  • "Dead Man's Party" was probably the worst episode of the season in this regard:
    Joyce: You can't imagine months of not knowing. Not knowing whether you're lying dead in a ditch somewhere or, I don't know, living it up—
    Buffy: But you told me! You're the one who said I should go. You said if I leave this house, don't come back. You found out who I really was, and you couldn't deal. Don't you remember?
  • The scene at the end of "Beauty and the Beasts", when Angel, after killing Pete, turns to Buffy and, after spending most of the episode in a feral state, says her name before just hugging her and crying into her chest.
    • There's a stealth tearjerker in the form of a throwaway line when Buffy tells Giles that she had a 'dream' where Angel came back (when actually he HAS returned and Buffy is trying to find out how and why). Giles replies that after Jenny died he often had dreams where she was alive, because he managed to save her.
    • This also has a rather upsetting subtext, because it implies that Giles feels personally responsible for not saving her life.
  • In "Homecoming", this speech:
    "This is all I do. This is what my life is. You couldn't understand. I just thought ... Homecoming Queen. I could pick up a yearbook someday and say, I was there. I went to high school, I had friends, and, for one moment, I got to live in the world. And there'd be proof, proof that I was chosen for something other than this."
  • "The Wish":
    • The series' first breakdown came during the final scene with the sad music playing as Buffy stakes Evil!Xander, Oz kills Evil!Willow and then Buffy gets her neck broken. All interspersed with Giles.
      Demon!Anya "How do you know that world is better?!"
      Crying!Giles "Because it has to be!"
      • Fridge Horror still sets in. Remember where Alternate-Buffy was from? Cleveland still has a hellmouth, confirmed in the series finale, and she was never there to stop anything there. It's entirely possible Giles could have been wrong.
    • Despite it being an alternate reality, watching all those much beloved characters die was heartbreaking... but by far the hardest was seeing Oz stake Willow.
    • There's also Angel's death in the alternate reality. In "Becoming," we learned he loved Buffy from seeing her outside Hemery High in LA. He loves her, and, as he dies, he calls out to her. There's complete indifference on Buffy's face. Knowing the ups and downs and tortured relationship, and the fact that Buffy and Angel, in the usual reality, never stop loving each other, seeing her completely not even care that Angel has been killed is incredibly tragic.
    • Cordelia's "death scene"
  • Heck, it may not make other people cry, and it certainly ends in one of the cheesiest scenes ever, but at the end of "Amends" when Angel and Buffy finally have it out on top of a hilltop as Angel waits for the sun to rise and burn him. The two of them are acting like they have never acted before, and it is heart-rending, to see just how much they both clearly still love each other.
    Angel: The demon told me to kill you, to lose my soul with you and kill you. You were in the dream, you know.
    Buffy: And why does that matter?
    Angel: BECAUSE I WANTED TO! I want to lose myself to you, take comfort from you. And I know that doing so will cost me my soul, and a part of me doesn't care.
    • The part that always gets me is the end of Buffy's response.
      "I wish I wished you dead. I don't. I can't."
  • Buffy's reaction to Giles' deception in "Helpless" was gut-wrenching.
  • Willow sobbing in a bathroom stall after finding out that Xander and Faith had sex in "Consequences", then cutting to a scene of Xander alone after having found out that the guys Faith sleeps with are a joke to her. Especially sad when you realize that that's it for any romantic connection between Xander and Willow, and with the exception of Season Six's finale they never really seem as close again after that.
  • Oz had a throwaway line in "Earshot" where he said the school paper had an obituary section. Speaks volumes on the crappiness of the Buffyverse.
  • The award Jonathan gives Buffy during "The Prom". That whole scene actually, but this is what starts the tears.
    "This is actually a new category. First time ever. I guess there were a lot of write-in ballots, and, um, well, 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. 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... [applause from the crowd]... And we know at least part of that is because of you. So the senior class offers its thanks, and gives you, uh, this. [produces a glittering, miniature umbrella with a small plaque attached to the shaft] It's from all of us, and it has written here, 'Buffy Summers, Class Protector.'"
    • This is even more emotional in hindsight when you remember that three episodes before this, Buffy talked Jonathan down from killing himself.
    • From earlier in the episode, after Angel breaks up with Buffy:
      Buffy: I think horrible is still coming. Right now it's worse. Right now I'm just trying to keep from dying. * collapses into Willow's lap* I can't breathe, Wil. I feel like I can't breathe.
    • "I want my life to be with you!" "...I don't."
    • Giles and Buffy's conversation after she gets the Class Protector award.
      Giles: You did good work tonight, Buffy.
      Buffy: And I got a little toy surprise.
      Giles: I had no idea that children, en masse, could be...gracious.
      Buffy: Every now and then people surprise you.
      Giles: ...Every now and then.
    • At which point he takes the award and nods for her to turn around...and there's Angel in a tux, come to dance with her.
  • Buffy and Angel's silent farewell to each other at the end of "Graduation Day, Part 2". They both seem to understand now that Angel leaving Sunnydale is for the best, but their faces show how much it really hurts the two of them.
    • The Mayor standing over Faith's bed. While he may be the season's Big Bad and is planning on the destruction of the entire town and hundreds if not thousands of innocent people, watching the Mayor look over Faith, being told she'll likely never wake up, is heart-wrenching. It's clear with this scene that the Mayor clearly loved Faith like a daughter, and wanted to share his victory with her. It's also telling that this act is the one thing that actually makes the Mayor lose his cool for the first time in the entire season, and endangers his entire plan — the one that he has spent hundreds of years building towards — just to take revenge upon Buffy.
    • Wesley was a smug, uppity watcher who wound up making a huge mess when he tried to have Faith sent out of the country for her murders, and his attitude and ill-advised decisions wind up with Buffy refusing to cooperate with the Watcher's Council any longer, and himself being fired. So when he slowly walks into the library, he's genuinely ready to help with the Mayor's ascension, but he sounds so utterly defeated. This after Cordelia earlier reported that Wesley had been crying after Buffy's rejection. Luckily, he got a new lease on life over on Angel. Before it all became an even bigger mess.

    Season 4
"Oz...don't you love me?"

"My whole life, I've never loved anything else."
  • "The Harsh Light Of Day" where the Scoobies find Harmony weeping after Spike abandoned her as well as the ending where Harm, Buffy and Anya are wandering around campus alone, regretting having sex the night before.
  • "Fear Itself": The Fear Demon tells Buffy that "There all going to abandon you, you know?" This becomes so much worse when you remember season 7 where Buffy's friends kick her out of her own house. Her fear that her friends would turn on her came true.
  • "Something Blue" where Buffy speaks to Willow about, "Seeing Angel in LA, even for 5 minutes." If you watched "I Will Remember You" and after "Pangs", you will understand why this statement is so saddening.]]
  • Professor Walsh telling Giles that Buffy lacked a father figure in "A New Man". Made her death by her own "son" next episode so much more satisfying.
  • "This Year's Girl", where Faith watches the video will from former Big Bad and her adopted-father figure, the Mayor. Sure, he was completely evil, but his fatherly love for Faith was completely genuine and watching her expression as she watches it quite heartbreaking. Doubles as a Heartwarming Moment.
    Mayor: Now Faith. As I record this message, you're...sleeping. And the doctors tell me you might never wake up. I don't believe that. Sooner or later, you'll find the world has gone and changed on you. I wish I could make the world a better place for you to wake up in. But tough as it is to accept, we both have to understand that even my power to protect and watch over you has its limits. The hard pill to swallow here is, once I'm gone, your days are just plain numbered. Now, I know you're a smart and capable young woman in charge of her own life...but the problem, Faith, is that there won't be a place in the world for you anymore. Right now, I bet you're feeling very much alone. But you're never alone. You'll always have me.
    • Just the fact that the most positive relationship in Faith's life up to that point had been with a murderous human sorcerer who wanted to become a demon, eat a ton of people, and rule the world. Sure, the Mayor was the epitome of Affably Evil, but he was still evil. How bad was the rest of Faith's life that this guy is her positive role model?
  • "Who Are You?": When Faith and Buffy switch bodies and Faith (in Buffy's body) is beating up Buffy (in Faith's body). It's clear that Faith is screaming at and beating up herself and not Buffy. The desperation, despair and hatred for herself is heartbreaking.
    "You're nothing! Disgusting! Murderous bitch! You're nothing! You're disgusting!"
  • Oz and Willow's final conversation and breakup in "New Moon Rising" manages to be both tearjerking and heartwarming. Shortly afterward, when Willow tells Tara she's staying with her, also qualifies.
    • The initial breakup in "Wild At Heart", especially the part where Willow discovers Oz cheated on her and him leaving at the end.
  • "The Yoko Factor" has Giles at home, singing and playing "Freebird". A most appropriate song, as he was going to quit as Buffy's watcher and leave her, until Spike interrupts.
  • In "Restless", Buffy's dream has her intrude upon a meeting between Riley and Adam. The latter had been killed by Buffy in the previous episode and now appears here completely human, and, aside from his immense height, is almost unrecognizable from his Bio-mechanical demonoid form. He spends some time mildly antagonizing Buffy, noting how they're not too dissimilar from each other, or from demons, for that matter, when it comes to their aggression. Finally, Riley tries to dismiss Buffy by saying that they have to do "a lot of filing, giving things names." Picking up on that last part, a genuinely affected Buffy asks Adam what his name was, and his response is surprisingly sad.
    Buffy: What was yours?
    Adam: Before Adam? (Lights dim around him) Not a man among us can remember.

    Season 5
"The hardest thing in this to live in it."

  • Basically... everything around Joyce in the first half of the season. A few little hints horrifying in retrospect, but then Buffy and Dawn have to try to deal with what so many others will: Their parent falling apart from something random and natural. In some ways, it's worse on a repeat viewing: At least, the first time, there was hope things would turn out well.
  • Many consider him a Scrappy, but there's something heartbreaking in Riley's statement at the end of "The Replacement", where he tops off his declaration of how Buffy is "the one" with "But she doesn't love me." And he says it not with sadness or bitterness or even anger but a quiet acceptance.
  • One word: "Family".... and just about anything else involving Tara. (Indeed, Joss has stated that Tara was specifically written to replace Willow as the damsel woobie when Willow's magic began to make her too tough to kidnap.)
    • A bit of Fridge Tear Jerker; Tara, like Willow in the next season, panicked and used magic to solve a problem (clumsily) instead of addressing it directly. Willow never mentions it, not even to defend herself. It would have been easy—even natural—to point out that she's not the only one who's ever used magic to smooth over a rather serious relationship problem like addiction or, oh, say, being a demon. But she never uses that weapon. She forgave Tara so completely that either she actually forgot, or it was a line that she was not willing to cross, ever, no matter what.
      • It was a line that had been crossed before with her. When she walked in on Oz and Veruca, Oz throws her previous dalliance with Xander in her face. Willow knows what that feels like and she would never do that to Tara.
  • Buffy telling Spike he's beneath her in "Fool For Love" and Spike's reaction. It's not that bad the first time around, but knowing where the character is going in the series and even at the end of the episode makes it sting a bit.
    • And when Buffy is going through the Watcher diaries.
      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."
  • "Listening To Fear" where Buffy breaks down while the sound of Joyce's psychotic ramblings can be heard. She's really talking to the Monster of the Week.
  • Dawn's breakdown in "Blood Ties". "Is this blood?" OW.
  • The fate of the android April in "I Was Made To Love You".
    • Note that Warren indicates that he expected April's battery to have run down some time ago, implying that April was more or less running on The Power of Love, which runs out after Warren reveals he doesn't love her back.
  • Absolutely every single second of "The Body":
    • Joyce's death. Buffy returning home...and then you see her mother just laying there on the couch... "Mom? ...Mom? ...Mommy?"
    • Then:
      Buffy: She's cold.
      911 Dispatcher: ...The body's cold?
      Buffy: [insistently, not understanding] No... my mom.
    • The change in the dispatcher's voice is a punch all its own. The woman on the other end of the line starts the call out trying to calm down Buffy, talking her through CPR, speaking in a soothing voice. And then when she hears that Joyce is cold - that she's clearly been dead for a while and can't be revived - the voice on the other end just goes utterly silent for too long, and then the very clinical "the body is cold?" When she speaks to Buffy again, she's clearly aware that she's talking to someone who can't process that someone they loved is dead, and doesn't know what to say, but has to say SOMETHING to the panicked young woman on the other end of the line.
    • The paramedics arrive - and manage to revive Joyce. They rush her to the hospital, declaring it 'a beautiful miracle'. Joyce, snuggled on the hospital bed with Dawn in her arms, thanks Buffy for finding her in time ... and we cut back to Buffy in the living room, as the paramedics give up and inform her that her mother is dead.
    • Xander's reaction to Joyce's death hit hardest. In his grief, he tries to deduce that Joyce's death was somehow supernaturally linked, because up until now, that's how most people died around them: someone is killed, dramatic music plays, the Scoobies figure out who/what the culprit is, they slay it, and then optional mourning if it's a character who is particularly endearing (Jenny Calander, Dr. Gregory, etc.). But the standard supernatural procedural never happens because that not what happened. Joyce died how the majority of people die: a sudden, natural death that could not have been avoided and cannot be justifiably reversed. Her death utters the reminder of how permanent - and natural - death is (at one point, Buffy opens the door after the EMT guys leave and she's waiting for Giles and the medical examiner, but she's not greeted by the monster of the week or empathic weather patterns: just sunshine, birds chirping, and kids playing in the street. Joyce's death will not make the newspaper like how most deaths in Sunnydale do because it's just another day for people outside of the Buffy's circle). The Scooby Gang is dealing with a situation that every viewer has gone - or will have to go - through at some point. This episode plays out just as how a day would go if someone close to you died.
      • This also brings to mind how when Joyce's condition was first mentioned earlier in the season, Buffy assumes that a demon is making her sick. It's not, and it pretty much marked the beginning of Buffy's trial of having to cope with losing a loved one due to causes outside of her control.
    • When Dawn's at school, the girl's demanding to know know what's going on, where's her mom, and breaks down in big noes and tears in front of everyone, then the camera switches to an "empty space" drawing, symbolizing how Joyce is gone.
      • What makes this truly terrible is that just before this, Dawn's having a breakdown in the bathroom. It sounds like she might be reacting to Joyce's death, she's so beside herself, but she's not. She's upset because another girl embarrassed her in front of a boy she liked, and Dawn thinks her life's over. Five minutes later, her sister tells her outside the classroom, and the audience is still in the classroom, and can't hear what Buffy's saying... but we can hear Dawn's cry of utter despair. Dawn never had much of a childhood, and was The Scrappy for a lot of people, but she loses her innocence here. It's hard to watch.
    • Dawn's innocuous comment to Buffy 'I thought Mom was picking me up' right before she leads her out of the classroom. For Dawn, it's just a normal day, but Buffy's somber expression quickly leads her to panic and Dawn is obviously trying very hard not to realise what's going on the moment before Buffy tells her.
    • Also, Anya's stumbling attempt at human connection:
      "I wish Joyce hadn't died! Because, she was nice. And now, we all hurt."
      "But I don't understand! I don't understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she's, there's just a body, and I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead anymore! It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid! And, and Xander's crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why."
      • The above speech creates one for Anya, too. While her quirky misunderstanding of socializing and human behavior is usually played for laughs, this is a woman who spent so much time as a demon she's forgotten just what it means to be human.
      • What was chilling about The Body was the long, eerie silences strategically placed throughout the episode.
      • This was emphasised by the fact that the entire episode had no background track. Specifically because a background track might provide a relief to the tension. The man really does just hate people.
      • Something that nobody seems to have thought of: Brian, Joyce's date. He left this card with the flowers, wanting to see her again. And he never did.
    • Watching Enemies first makes the "Funny Aneurysm" Moment a Tear Jerker in its own right. Paraphrased from my entry on the Fridge Horror page: Tara's body was in a very similar position to Joyce's, after the aneurysm. Not only did Dawn have to deal with the horror of finding Tara dead, it most likely, intensely, brought back memories of her mother beginning to die hardly a year earlier. I had to stop the season 5 DVD for a while. Then you realize how many loved ones, human loved ones, were dying (or in one case was found dead, by her) literally in front of Dawn, once as a direct result of her existence, and you have to wonder exactly how deep her angst over being left alone really went. Weepy BSOD ensued.
  • "Forever" where Dawn casts a spell to bring Joyce back. The way Buffy says "Mommy" and rushes to answer when Zombie!Joyce knocks on the door, only to find nobody there because Dawn undid the spell rips my heart out.
    • The scene right before that, when Buffy finally breaks down and releases all the grief and anxiety she's held inside since finding Joyce.
      Buffy: I have to do these things, 'cause, 'cause when I stop... then she's really gone. And I'm trying, Dawn, I am really trying to take care of things. But I don't even know what I'm doing! Mom always knew.
      Dawn: Nobody's asking you to be Mom!
      Buffy: Well, who's gonna be if I'm not?!? Huh, Dawn? Have you even thought about that!? Who's gonna make things better? Who's gonna take care of us? I didn't mean to push you away! I didn't. It's just, I didn't want you to see me. Oh god, Dawnie. I don't know what we're gonna do. I'm scared.
      • Also, maybe because the pain was still fresh, it was kind of heartbreaking for everyone to act as if Spike just wanted to earn brownie points, when he actually wanted to bring Joyce flowers, because he actually liked her.
      • Joyce's funeral speaks for itself, the music of the scene even MORE so.
  • Spike may have a truly screwed-up idea of what love is - the Buffybot in "Intervention" comes to mind - but in the same episode he allows himself to be tortured for hours, with a high probability of dying, just to spare Buffy the pain of losing Dawn. But the thing is that at this point in the series, he honestly has given up hope that Buffy will ever love him. He goes through all that pain for someone who despises him.
    • When Willow wants to Take Tara home, the doctor asks Willow if Tara is her sister. Willow's response:
      Willow: She's my everything.
    • Dawn's guilt and self-loathing in season 5 is always heart-wrenching, but it reaches critical mass in that episode. This quote make one want to take her out of the Buffyverse, wrap her in blankets and feed her soup and ice-cream:
      "Right now, Glory thinks Tara's the key. But I am, Spike. Anything that happens to Tara, happens because 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 truly horrible to cause all this."
      • Pretty much everything with Tara after this (until she gets healed, of course) qualifies. She still obviously loves Willow. The way she reacts whenever she's separated from Willow during this time is heart-wrenching.
    • Dawn's barely-suppressed panic as she tries to avoid the realization that Tara might not recover.
      Dawn: So, what'd the doctors say? Is those guys in the mental ward, or, or is it different somehow?
      Buffy: They said there's no way of knowing right now.
      Dawn: 'Cause... none of those guys got better. I mean, none of them.
      Buffy: Dawn, honey...Tara might not either.
    • At which Dawn breaks down, sobbing that it's all her fault.
    • Willow's reaction to Glory hurting Tara becomes a bit of this when you know how the next season ends; and it's definitely a tear jerker to see that sweet, friendly Willow subscribes hard to "An eye for an eye" when it comes to Tara. Just seeing how much the poor girl means to her, and not knowing if she'll ever be the same again...
    • On that note, Tara before she's healed, slapping Willow and calling her a bitch before stopping and looking so utterly, completely scared and confused. She doesn't understand what she's doing or what's going on. And this is Tara...
    • All of the Mind Rape storyline. Look at Tara. Does This Remind You of Anything?? No, okay think. She acts unnervingly like someone with severe mental disabilities. Depressing to say the least.
  • "The Gift":
    • Buffy's final sacrifice for her sister, followed by the viewers hearing the speech she gave Dawn right before diving into the portal.
      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.
      • What's particularly powerful is Scoobies' reactions, coming closer to her body. Willow and Spike in particular were heartbreaking.
      • When Buffy's narration gets to "You have to be strong", the camera cuts to Spike on the ground, weeping into his hands uncontrollably. At no point in the series do you ever see Spike get this emotional. There's no Manly Tears or dignified grieving like Giles and Xander - he's crying his eyes out at the death of the woman he loved.
    • You also realise that Dawn had to witness Buffy jumping off the tower and walk down to the ground completely alone. At least the others had each other and were together for some of it. Dawn had to climb down from that height, terrified and traumatised. She's only fifteen!
    • The others also had no idea of knowing that Dawn was alright. At the point they find Buffy's body, Dawn is still climbing down the tower. For all they knew, Buffy and Dawn could have been killed.
    • Spike reaffirming his support for Buffy just before the final battle.
      "I know you'll never love me. I know that I'm a monster. But you treat me like a man."
    • When the demon asks why Spike's protecting Dawn, despite not having a soul, and he says "I made a promise to a lady."
    • Another small moment from that episode springs to mind. Dawn has just put on the dress she must wear and she sets her own clothes down on the chair and you know she has accepted that she is going to die and has given up hope. The music playing and the expression on her face is enough to get someone a little misty-eyed.
    • Spike gets to the top of the tower to protect Dawn from Doc - who beats him in a fight and throws him off the tower. Dawn's Big NO isn't just about the fact that she's left alone with a demon who then cuts her open to start the ritual - but at seeing a friend thrown off possibly to his death. Sure we see that Spike is alright straight away, but Dawn can't.
    • Another Spike moment is when Tara accidentally sets him on fire by opening the curtain on the RV. Yes, he freaks out (who wouldn't, being on fire and all) but he immediately forgives Tara and glosses over the incident. It hits tearjerker territory when you remember that he spent over a century taking care of someone who was only slightly more lucid that Tara at that moment, and he was undoubtedly thinking of Dru and their times together when he wandered off away from the window.
    • The moment after Willow undoes Tara's Mind Rape and goes to check on her.
      Willow: Tara?
      Tara: I got so lost...
      Willow: I found you. I will always find you.

    Season 6
"Your shirt."

  • "Bargaining, Part 1":
    • Giles leaving.
    • Dawn snuggling up to the Buffybot.
  • "Bargaining, Part 2":
    • The fate of the Buffybot, plus her little speech afterwards.
    • The Scoobies' reactions when they realize they left Buffy in the ground to dig herself out.
  • "After Life":
    • Buffy telling Spike that she had been pulled out of Heaven.
    • Spike's small speech to Buffy:
      Spike: I do remember what I said. The promise. To protect [Dawn]. If I'd have done that, even if I didn't make it, you wouldn't have had to jump. But I want you to know I did save you. Not when it counted, of course, but after that. Every night after that. I'd see it all again, and do something different. Faster, or more clever, you know? Dozens of times, lots of different ways. Every night, I save you.
  • Buffy revealing she was in Heaven in "Once More, With Feeling". Blame the music.
    There was no pain.
    No fear, no doubt,
    'Til they pulled me out
    Of Heaven.
    So that's my refrain:
    I live in Hell,
    'Cause I've been expelled
    From Heaven...
    So give me something to sing about!
    Give me something!
    • An earlier related moment: during "Walk through the Fire," she sings: "But why I froze, not one among them knows/And never can be told." Someone give this girl a medal; she had true perfection and was finally at peace from the pressures of Slayer-age, and is forcefully ripped from it by her friends, but refuses to call any of them out on it. That's love and devotion right there, because she knows their intentions were intended to be good ones.
    • How about the fact that the last lines of her song seem like she's PLEADING to the demons to "Giver [her] something to sing about." Cue to him basically dismissing her plea and her flipping off the stage and dancing like crazy. She HAD TO KNOW THAT WOULD KILL HER. And then Spike giving her a lesson on living. Now go back to her words "Give me something to sing about"; she is pleading to a DEMON to give her a REASON TO LIVE.
    • What really made it a Tear Jerker were the reactions of the others, especially Willow.
    • Giles' "Standing in the Way." Sure, it was pretty much an excuse for Whedon to rob Buffy of that one necessary father figure, but Anthony Stewart Head's delivery... God, the sheer emotion in the thing is tear-jerking. Especially when you know how Seasons 7 and 8 end up breaking what little relationship they have left into little tiny pieces.
      • The duet between Giles and Tara when reprising "Standing in the Way" and "I'm Under Your Spell." Especially the line about "how can this be, playing with my memory, you know I've been through hell...there'll be nothing left of me." After what Glory did to her head, someone she trusted and loved so much also messing with her mind has got to be incredibly painful. Not only that, but she's questioning a huge chunk of their relationship. In a Dark Reprise of the song where she told Willow how said relationship made her life so much better. It's heartbreaking.
      • The line that really sells the confusion and pain is "Wish I could trust / That it was just this once." Willow broke Tara's trust so hard that Tara honestly thinks it's possible that Willow has done it to her more than once. And to make it worse, Willow does it to her again.
  • The closing montage of "Tabula Rasa." Giles and Tara leaving, and Willow crying over Michelle Branch's giving the best musical performance of the series. It doesn't help that it's also one of the funniest episodes ever.
  • The entirety of Buffy and Spike's relationship. Finally, when Buffy is at her lowest—when she is traumatized, depressed, isolated from her friends, and doesn't have Giles there to protect her—Spike sees an opening for him to swoop in and use Buffy's aforementioned trauma and mental illness to coerce her into starting up a sexual relationship with him. He knows that she would only ever consider being with him when she is at her lowest point, so he does everything he can to convince her that she Came Back Wrong and thus can only find solace in him. On a meta level. And poor Buffy is too mentally beaten down to stop him. It's especially disheartening to hear that Sarah Michelle Gellar found Buffy's relationship with Spike to be degrading.
  • Willow's breakdown at the end of "Wrecked" was heart-wrenching. Even if Willow's magic addiction arc wasn't particularly great, this scene was still powerful. Willow's sobbing and is truly horrified at what she's done and what she's become, and she finally recognizes that she has a problem and that she's powerless to stop it and she needs help. The way she pleads with Buffy for help is just too much.
    • Buffy is sitting in her room with a very large stake and garlic hanging from the windows to ward off Spike, but he had already put his poison in her and from now on, she'll come to him. Seeing how much Buffy hates herself for "allowing" Spike to abuse her is gut-wrenching.
    • Willow and Buffy's conversation at the end definitely has one for Willow. Despite the addiction arc muddling things and somewhat derailing her character, we do see a sad glimpse of insight from Willow that reveals she knows what her real issue has always been: that her abuse of magic was always her way of covering up her insecurities and feelings of powerless.
      Willow: "I mean, if you could be regular Willow or super Willow, who would you be? ... Who was I? Just some girl. Tara didn't even know that girl."
  • Speaking of that arc, this exchange from "All The Way" was so incredibly, painfully wrong that if you don't tear up it's because you're in shock.
    Tara: What do you want me to do? Just sit back and keep my mouth shut?!
    Willow: *snapping* That'd be a good start.
    • The look on Tara's face at that is heartbreaking in itself.
      • Try watching this episode right after "Family", with the knowledge of Tara's abusive past fresh on the brain—she spent most of her life being told to sit back and keep her mouth shut or else.
      • The sense of utter betrayal in her response.
        "If I didn't love you so damn much I would..."
    • Also depressing from "All The Way" is Dawn and her group visiting a senile, lonely old man who delighted in making toys for kids. When he tries to serve the teens marshmallow treats, one of the group reveals he's a vampire and kills him offscreen. Poor guy...
  • Your Milage May Vary hard based on how you view Buffy and Spike's relationship in season 6, but the scene in "Dead Things" where a grimacing, tearful Buffy watches from the shadows while her friends all dance and have a good time, as Spike begins to initiate sex with her all while whispering in her ear about how she knows she doesn't belong in her friends' world anymore, that she belongs in the darkness with him is hard to watch for many fans.
    • Buffy got there too, as she keeps saying she's bad and wrong and pleading with Tara not to forgive her.
      It's wrong. I'm wrong. Please, tell me that I'm wrong! ...Please don't forgive me... God, please don't forgive me...
    • It's not just that she doesn't want to be wrong (bad enough on its own). With her pleading, it's almost as if Buffy NEEDS something to be wrong with her, that she had been depending on the fact that, since Spike could hurt her, it meant that she was no longer human. It gave her a release that she had refused to indulge in before learning this and it allowed her to view her actions as things that someone who is not human could do. But now Tara is confirming that she's been human all this time, which means the things she has done (specifically with Spike, using him to feel), she's done with her humanity fully intact. Which, to her, makes her a horrible person.
  • Anya walking down the aisle alone in "Hell's Bells".
    • Pretty much that entire episode, particularly if you know what's coming. The most heartbreaking moment was when Anya was reciting her final version of her vows - how being with Xander taught her what love really is - while Xander was walking through the rain, leaving her at the altar. Heartbreaking.
    • Say what you will about how Xander handled it, the reason he breaks things off with Anya is all too real - he's the child of an emotionally and more than a little implied physically abusive father, whose parents are seemingly out of love but staying together for whatever reason, with resentment and bitterness just festering between the two of them. What the demon shows him is what he's most afraid of being - his father. The fact that he breaks things off with Anya is because he's afraid history will repeat itself. He's breaking her heart in an effort to spare her from ending up like his parents, the only example of "love" and "marriage" he really has.
  • The last scene of "Normal Again". Buffy going into permanent catatonia while her parents helplessly watch.
    • It's little, but the scene when Buffy has her first big headtrip in the graveyard - not that itself but the moment after. Willow and Xander pull Buffy away from Spike to take her home and take care of her. Spike calls after them, 'Put some ice on her neck' followed by quietly saying 'She likes that.' If it wasn't clear before, Spike clearly liked being intimate with Buffy enough that he pays attention to what she likes, as opposed to Buffy, who's mostly in it for rough escapism. That and it implies she probably trusted him enough to let him put his cold, undead hands on her neck.
    • The climax:
      Buffy: Goodbye.
  • Anya's lament in "Entropy". For someone known for her brutal honesty, this is her most honest moment.
    "This whole time I've been coming on all hellbent and mad. Wanting his (Xander's) head, you know. When really I can't sleep at night thinking that it's my fault somehow. What if he was just pretending? What if he never wanted me the way I wanted him?"
    • This speech:
      Tara: Things fall apart. They fall so hard. You can't ever put them back the way they were. I'm sorry, it's just... You know it takes time. You can't just have coffee and expect... There's so much to work through. Trust has to build again, on both sides. You have to learn if you're even the same people you 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?
    • Followed the next episode by super happy tears at Dawn's reaction to seeing them together again.
  • "Seeing Red":
  • "I'm sorry, William."
    • Well, her actual death is too sudden for it to really sink in for me. However, in the next episode, as Willow is crying and holding her corpse, asking the Egyptian god of death How is this natural? ...Yeah. Also, Xander's line describing the situation:
      "I've had blood on my hands all day. Blood from people I love."
    • Dawn finding her body. And Buffy finding Dawn having found her body.
      Dawn: [voice cracking] I didn't want to leave her alone.
    • Xander didn't know. He saw her shirt, and he didn't know. He tells Willow about Buffy, but nobody other than Willow knew until Dawn.note  Buffy didn't know until she found Dawn hours later. I don't know if Giles knew at all. But every time Xander harped on being useless, after... it twisted the knife of that scene, Willow alone, which made the climactic scene of the finale all the sweeter.
  • The utter brokenness of dark Willow. She is not some megalomaniac with delusions of godhood, and even when she ends up wanting to end the world, it's not because she just wants it all to burn. She does it because the pain hurts so much she sees it as a Mercy Kill. But more to the point, it's because without Tara, her world has already ended, and continuing to live at all is a cruelty. This isn't something that's infected Willow, this is all the negativity that Willow has hidden inside for so long - because without Tara to light up her life, all she has left is the darkness she's carried.
    Willow: The only thing Willow was ever good for... ...the only thing I had going for me ... were the moments - just moments - when Tara would look at me and I was wonderful. And that will never happen again."
  • Xander's speech to Willow at the end of "Grave":
    "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 loved crayon-breaky Willow, and I love scary, veiny Willow. So if I'm going out, it's here. You wanna kill the world, well then start with me. I've earned that."
    • Seeing Willow's wrathful facade crumble as her powers drain out and she's reduced to ineffectively punching Xander, then breaking down in tears as her grief overwhelms her always got me. During those two episodes, Dark Willow was such a powerful presence that it was hard to reconcile it with her normal, sweet, vulnerable self, so when her hair began to change back to its normal color, I broke down.
    • It's a bit less than everything else that was going on, but Giles "dying", and Anya acting so worried and sad, despite Anya having reverted to being a demon. Tears from a Stone, writ small.
      • Anya to Buffy and Dawn (about Giles): "I should get back to him...I don't think he has a lot of time..."
    • Buffy regaining her will to live.
      "I wasn't trying to protect you from the world, I want to show it to you!"
  • In many ways, the whole of the season is an ongoing tearjerker - this year, the Scoobies have to face the ultimate big bad: Life itself. Every serious issue they face, the ones that linger over multiple episodes, are entirely mundane issues. And they utterly SUCK at handling them. Things get so bad because they have such poor coping skills for the mundane - demons attack, they're in their element. Life happens and they all just get beaten to a pulp.

    Season 7
"Can we rest?"

  • The final scene of "Beneath You". Spike's insanity, guilt and self-loathing are absolutely heart-breaking, and James Marsters acts his bloody heart out.
    Spike: (to Buffy) Why does a man do what he mustn't? For her, to be hers. To be the kind of man who would never... To be a kind of man. And she will look upon him with forgiveness, and everybody will forgive, and love...and he will be loved. So everything's okay, right? Can we rest now? Buffy?... Can we rest?
  • Willow realizing that she wasn't left all alone and that Xander and Buffy came to rescue her in "Same Time, Same Place". Props to Alyson Hannigan for having a Heartwarming Moment while mumbling through paralysis.
  • "Help". Blame Azura Skye for being so sweet and vulnerable. The end is heart-wrenching, along with:
    Cassie: You think I want this? You think I don't care? Believe me, I want to be here! Do things! I want to graduate from high school and I want to go to the stupid Winter Formal. I have this friend and it'd be fun to go with him, to dance and hear lame music, to wear a silly dress and laugh and stuff. I'd like to go. There's a lot of stuff I'd like to do. I'd love to ice skate at Rockefeller Center, and I'd love to see my cousins grow up and see how they turn out, because they're really mean and I think they're going to be fat. I'd love to backpack across the country or...I don't know...fall in love? But I won't. I just never will.
  • Willow visiting Tara's grave for the first time.
    Willow:'s me.
    • Bonus points for the realization that Willow wasn't able to go to Tara's funeral. The love of her life died right in front of her, and it was months before she was allowed to properly say goodbye.
  • "Selfless":
    • Buffy's "I killed Angel" speech, Anya telling Xander to stop trying to save her and wondering if there's a her left to save, Halfrek's murder and, of course, the end ("What if I'm really no one?") with Xander and Anya walking away from each other in tears? God. Anya of "The Bunny Song" should not create an episode this goddamn heartbreaking.
    • Hell the very start of the episode shows Anya sitting in the dark, surrounded by the murdered college boys, covered in blood horrified at what she's just done.
    • When Buffy fights Anya, they show "Anya's Lost Song" (I'll Be His Mrs) and it cuts off at the end while she's singing and instead shows her lifeless body impaled by Buffy's sword. Luckily, she got better.
    • While Anya does survive, this sequence seems designed to make the viewer gasp and think this really is the end for her. In particular, the Smash Cut to a happy scene and then back to Anya's seemingly lifeless body is reminiscent of the Christmas dinner scene in Season 5's "The Body."
    • All the more tearjerking because her song ("Mrs.") is about becoming Xander's wife, and because it's a flashback, we already know that he left her at the altar, prompting her to turn back into a demon.
      Anya: Just stand aside! Here comes the bride! (walks onto the balcony and is suddenly wearing her wedding dress) I'll be Mrs! I will be his Mrs!"
    • The flashback to Anya turning Olaf into a troll is initially Played for Laughs - but then when D'Hoffryn shows up, we see that she's just a young woman who had her heart broken and doesn't know what to do with herself. When the demon compliments her on the spell, she replies with a quiet "thank you" - showing that the revenge brought her very little satisfaction.
    • Anya offering her own life and soul to reverse the wish and bring back the boys. It's possible it's not just because it's the right thing but there's a chance Anya is so broken and disgusted with herself that she wants to commit Suicide by Cop as punishment for her crime.
    • Then the sacrifice turns out to be not Anya herself - but Halfrek! D'Hoffryn kills Anya's best friend specifically to hurt her, and so that she has to live with her guilt. Fridge Horror - if Halfrek and Cecily were the same person, Spike lost one of his former lovers without realising it.
  • "Conversations With Dead People":
    CassieThe First: She (Tara) says even though you can't hear her, she still sings to you.
    • The fact that it is clear that Willow is fully believing the First's story about Cassie relaying Tara's messages. Willow fully believes and accepts that she can't see or hear Tara because she is still being punished.
    • Jonathan's speech right before being killed:
      Jonathan: I really miss it. Time goes by, and everything drops away. All the cruelty, all the pain, all that humiliation. It all washes away. I miss my friends. I miss my enemies. I miss the people I talked to every day. I miss the people who never knew I existed. I miss 'em all. I want to talk to them, you know. I want to find out how they're doing. I want to know what's going on in their lives.
      Andrew: You know what? They don't wanna talk to you. All those people you just mentioned, not one of them is sitting around going, "I wonder what Jonathan's up to right now." Not one of them cares about you.
      Jonathan: Well, I still care about them. That's why I'm here.
    • Jonathan's story arc in general. Everything Jonathan does until the end of Season 6 is because he's so desperately lonely that he's willing to put up with torment from his peers, leap blindly at the hope that a woman might like him, and he's genuinely touched when Buffy stops him from killing himself in "Earshot." He's thankful to her for the remainder of the series, giving her an award, wanting desperately for her to think he's a good person to the point where he re-writes reality to do so, and gives THAT up when he realizes the cost, though he knows it ostracizes him further. He joins the Trio out of a sense of companionship more than boredom or a desire for power or money. When he realizes that Warren's not just a goofball friend, but a seriously twisted bastard, Jonathan pushes for the Trio to turn themselves in to the police, and spends the rest of his time trying to save Andrew from following Warren. He does his best to aid Buffy surreptitiously while doing so, and only abandons his plan of going back to prison to pay for his crimes out of raw fear of Willow. His reward for trying to stand up and do the right thing, even at considerable risk to himself? His best friend murders him.
    • And Principal Wood was the only one decent enough to bury him.
    • Willow's bit in that same episode was hard. "...and it's not getting better." Oh, God...
    • "...It's cuz I'm gonna win..." never fails to elicit tears. The sadness in Buffy's voice, knowing that once again, the socializing and having a life will inevitably have to once again take a backseat to the slayage.
  • "Sleeper":
    • Spike's final breakdown.
      Spike: (holding out his heart for the staking) Just do it quick, okay? (pause) He said you'd do it!
      Buffy: Who said?
      Spike: Me. It was me. I saw it. I was here the whole time, talking and singing. (sobs) There was a song.
      Buffy: What are you talking about?
      Spike: I don't know. Please, I don't remember. Don't make me remember. (to invisible person) Make it so I forget again! I did what you wanted!
      Buffy: There's something here. (throws away the stake)
      Spike: Oh, God, no, please. I need that. I can't cry this soul out of me. It won't come. I killed, and I can feel 'em. I can feel every one of them.
      Buffy: There's something playing with us. All of us.
      Spike: What is it? Why is it doing this to me?
      Buffy: I don't know.
      Spike: Will you... Help me. Can you help me?
      • Especially the way he can't meet her eyes. Like he knows he's lost that connection and doesn't deserve to be on a level with her anymore.
  • "Bring on the Night". Willow's breakdown after feeling the First inside of her. This is even sadder when you remember that she's hurt her friends before when she was out of control, and the First tried to convince her that she'd do it again.
    • "Early One Morning." Sure, it contributes heavily to Spike's already terrible Badass Decay, but the realization of why the trigger works is tear-inducing. It's frequently assumed to be magic, but it's not. It's the First using Spike's soul against him. The titular song is the one Spike's mother sang to him as William, and when William became a vampire, his first thought was that he could save his mother from her gradually worsening painful death. Instead, she became a monster. The song reminded him that his love of his mother is what damned her, and the knowledge of it is what drove him to be Spike instead of William: a merciless killer instead of a Momma's Boy. The song provoked that memory violently every time he heard it.
  • A mild one is "Never Leave Me", where Spike keeps telling Buffy to kill him.
  • The end of "Showtime" when Buffy rescues Spike and he touches her shoulder to make sure she's real. She is, and he just can't believe that she'd come for him.
  • The climax of "The Killer In Me", when Willow-in-Warren's-body breaks down over Tara's death:
    Willow: (to Kennedy) It was your fault, slut! You tricked me! It was just for a second, but I kissed you... I let her go. She was here all the time. And I let her be dead. (now directing her comments at Tara) I'm sorry! Please, baby, I'm sorry, come back! Please, baby, come back!
    • Despite later developments in the canon follow-up comics, the climax of that scene can be seen as Warren and Willow begging for forgiveness (Warren for accidentally killing the girl he loved after she left him again, which was his crossing of the Moral Event Horizon before he got serious about being a villain). Note how Kennedy takes on her appearance during the kiss to break the spell? It sure doesn't redeem him, but it's a touching display of human grief and vulnerability even coming from the guy who puts the "monster" in Humans Are the Real Monsters.
      • It's even more insane when you realize that Adam Busch (Warren) was dating Amber Benson (Tara) at the time. Apparently Joss told him what how "Seeing Red" was going to end by saying "You're gonna kill your girlfriend." to which Busch replied "Warren gets a girlfriend?"
  • "Storyteller":
    • Anya and Xander's break up.
    • The Mood Whiplash later in the episode only makes the episode worse:
      Buffy: When your blood pours, it might save the whole world? What do you think about that? Does that buy it all back? Are you redeemed?
      Andrew: No. Because... I killed him. Because I pretended I thought it was Warren, but I knew that it wasn't. And now you're gonna kill me, and I'm gonna die, and I'm scared, and...this is how Jonathan felt.
    • Followed by Andrew, who's been Breaking the Fourth Wall as a Running Gag throughout the entire episode to distance himself from everything, sitting down alone with the video camera.
      Andrew: Here's the thing. I killed my best friend. There's a big fight coming, and I don't know what's going to happen. I don't even think I'm going to live through it. That's, uh... (Beat) Probably the way it should be. I guess I'm... (Beat, then turns the camera off).
  • The scene in "Empty Places" where Willow and Xander try to act normal and make jokes about Xander losing his eye, only for Willow to start crying and Xander to just look away and say flatly "Willow. Please don't." You can tell he's this far from falling apart.
    • The end where everyone gangs up on Buffy and decide to kick her out of her own home. Made all the worse by the fact that none of them even bother to apologize to her, even after Buffy's proven right, comes back and saves the day after Faith and the Potentials' plan quite literally blows up in their faces.
  • The series finale "Chosen":
    • Call it cheesy, but the "Every girl a slayer" speech.
      Buffy: From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power, can stand up, will stand up. Slayers...every one of us.
    • Andrew telling Xander about Anya's death.
      Andrew: She was incredible. She died saving my life.
      Xander: That's my girl. Always doing the stupid thing.
      • Made all the sadder by the fact that Andrew is lying.
    • All the empowerment, all the Potentials gaining so much power.
    • Spike's Heroic Sacrifice.
      Buffy: I love you.
      Spike: No, you don't. But thanks for saying it.
    • "I want to see how it ends."
      • Spike, obviously in agony, forcing himself to laugh as he bursts into flame.

    Season 8 
  • The death of Renee in the Wolves at the Gate arc, especially the beginning of the fourth issue, where we get her POV as she dies and listen to all her regrets as she watches Xander try to get to her before she dies.
  • Buffy finding out Giles trusts Faith and sent her on a mission without telling Buffy, and when she confronts him about it over the phone, he tells her that he doesn't want her to be any part of it. Buffy is floored by the fact Giles won't tell her something and went to Faith instead of her, and numbly hands the phone to Willow as the split between her and Giles grows even wider. For a while after this, they weren't on speaking terms.
    • Buffy's response when Xander says that he thinks she needs some alone time:
      Buffy: What other kind is there?
  • In the penultimate issue, we get a Twilight-possessed Angel killing Giles the same way Angelus had killed Jenny Calendar in Season 2. Naturally, this leads to Buffy completely losing it, and she destroys the Seed of Wonder, removing all the invading demons from the world, along with all magic, which leads to another Tear Jerker when Willow crashes to the ground, and begins crying and screaming at Kennedy that they lost and it was the end.
    Angel: Did we win?

    Season 9 / Angel & Faith 
  • The whole Daddy Issues arc. Especially when Faith finds out what her dad really came for and is horrified by what she did to protect Angel.
    • Also the end:
    Angel: Drusilla...I'm so sorry. ...
    Drusilla: No, Angel, please! ... Don't do this to me, Angel. Not again.
  • Quite a few in the Family Reunion arc:
    • After Angel gives her a What the Hell, Hero? for wanting to involve Connor in her quest, Willow snaps and gives him an Armor-Piercing Slap before declaring that everything that has happened is his fault because he always jumps at the chance whenever he finds out he may be redeemed and never worries about the consequences of his actions until it's too late, screaming that he's ruined everything. Immediately afterwards, Willow has an emotional meltdown, insisting that the Earth is dying without magic and she's the only one who cares before collapsing in tears.
    Willow: Can't you see what were missing? How empty the world is? There hasn't been a decent song, movie or book since we lost the Seed! Suicide rates are spiking! All over the world people are losing hope! It's just starting! It only gets worse from here! The world's dying and nobody will admit it! I need to save it. There's nothing more important. Why doesn't anyone understand...?
    • Later, while in Quor'toth, Willow freaks out when she realizes the realm's influence is turning her dark again, and she understandably panics. Angel does his best to comfort her and calm her down, but she's still worried.
    Willow: Angel, I can't! Please, I can't fight! Not now...
    Angel: It's going to be okay.
    Willow: No! You don't know me like this! It's never okay!
    Angel: Willow, it will be. I promise you. I need you to trust me. I know that's hard, after Twilight, after everything, but please, Willow. Can you trust me?
    Willow: I... I... yes. But I don't trust me.
  • Near the end of the season, Buffy is finally forced to contend with the consequences of destroying the Seed of Wonder when it turns out that the Cosmic Retcon that brought Dawn into existence back in Season 5 is being undone, and Dawn is slowly fading away. The real Tear Jerker comes into play when Xander, one of her closest friends, whirls on her and starts blaming her for the whole thing, since she destroyed the Seed and caused the end of magic to begin with. He ends up so disillusioned with Buffy that he sells her out to Simone Doffler of all people, because she claimed she also wanted to reverse Twilight and restore magic.
    • When Buffy and Willow plan to storm the Deeper Well to find a way to save Dawn, Xander, not willing to send them to their deaths, spills his alliance to Severin and Simone, insisting they've already saved Dawn by doing so. Both girls are infuriated and hurt that Xander had so little faith in them, and the situation is made even worse when it's revealed that if they do try to revert Twilight, it will result in a Time Crash.
    Xander: I did it to save your sister!
    Buffy: You did it because you didn't believe in me. In any of us.
    Willow: We could've gotten the magic.
    Buffy: But it turns out you're the one we shouldn't have believed in.

     Season 10 / Angel & Faith vol. 2 
  • Xander and Dawn trying to make things work even though her emotions are reset and she doesn't love him anymore. It's just so painful that it's honestly a relief when Xander realizes they have to break up.
    • We get an echo of Spike and Buffy from "Chosen". Dawn tries to snap Xander out of Dracula's thrall by saying she loves him...
      Xander: No you don't.
    • Worse, the emotional reset means Dawn has to to through Joyce's death again.
  • Willow's love life. She realizes she can't really trust Arwen since Arwen is a trickster deity and breaks up with her. She then starts dating Lake, but when she decides to stop working with the government that relationship ends too.
  • Spike's arc shows us that even if he's functioning better than he did in season 7, his insecurities are still a huge problem for him to the point where he's so sure he's not good enough that he tries to break up with Buffy who thankfully snaps him out of it. When Archaeus sends him false dreams to make him think he's killing again, Spike thinks he's going mad again. He's also terrified of letting Buffy in his head since he's scared his past will run her off.
    • The fact that Harmony of all people managed to bring the majority of those insecurities to the fore only makes it more painful.
  • When they realize they have to leave Dawn behind in a hell dimension to close a portal and prevent an apocalypse. Buffy outright breaks down, and Spike is unable to comfort her right away since he's still angry Dawn was left behind.
  • Andrew seeing what the others say behind his back. While he's clearly upset that the Scoobies don't trust him, he accepts it...but seeing Brian and Clive criticizing him as well pushes him so far he nearly leaves the city.
    • Brian implying there's something wrong with Andrew because it took him so long to realize he was gay, a fear Andrew had expressed earlier in the season.

     Season 11 

     Season 12 
  • The Reckoning, the event that led to the dystopian timeline shown in Fray, is this, especially what the Scoobies learn from the future Harmony in the 23rd century. As they reveal, demons and vampires had united against the threat of Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg’s effort in empowering humans. A battle had taken place at Willow's empowerment center, and something caused all Slayers to lose their powers, including their memories of being Slayers — except Buffy’s, who continued to fight while the others ran away. Outnumbered, Buffy had Dawn open a portal to a hell dimension, so Willow threw all the demons through it. Buffy had to go with them to keep them from returning to Earth, but she never came back, bound to fight demons in the hell dimension for the rest of her brief life. Angel and Spike were never heard from again, with different sources claiming that they either went to hell with her or, out of guilt for failing her, committed Suicide by Sunlight. Willow stood guard for centuries, eventually becoming the Dark Willow Buffy killed during the events of Season 8; here, it's revealed that Future!Willow in fact brought Buffy to the future to kill her in repentance for Willow leaving her in hell.
  • Illyria's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Despite everything he did, Harth gets an Alas, Poor Villain sendoff. After Buffy stakes him, he slowly dusts, and apologizes to Melaka, his twin sister, before transferring the Slayer memories to her.

     Tales of the Slayers 
  • The end of "Righteous" - after saving the town from St. Just, the people respond by declaring her a witch and having her burned at the stake as her Watcher is Forced to Watch. Driven past the Despair Event Horizon, the unnamed Watcher returns the favor by opening the town gates and letting the rest of St. Just's vampires in.
    The town made merry, gamboled, dined;
    They'd nothing now to fear;
    They burned the darkness from my mind
    The world at last was clear
    For God is good and God is kind
    But He's not welcome here.
  • "The Innocent": Claudine lives, but lives with the knowledge that her Watcher has tricked her into committing murder.


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