November 19, 2022

Buffy 4.10, Hush: You’re Gonna Die Screaming But You Won’t Be Heard

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:17 pm by Jenn

If I’m going to have nightmares about these guys, I’m taking you all with me

Summary: Buffy’s in Professor Walsh’s class, where the topic of the day is communication. She talks about thoughts and experiences, then calls on Buffy and Riley to assist in a demonstration. She has Buffy lie down on her desk and tells Riley to be a good boy. “Don’t worry – if I kiss you, it’ll make the sun go down,” Riley tells Buffy. They kiss as if no one’s watching them, even though everyone is.

The sun does, indeed, go down, and suddenly the room is empty. “Fortune favors the brave,” Buffy says. She hears singing and follows the sound to the hallway. A blond girl is there, holding a box in her hands. She sings:

“Can’t even shout, can’t even cry
The Gentlemen are coming by
Looking in windows, knocking on doors
They need to take seven and they might take yours
Can’t call to Mom, can’t say a word
You’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard.”

Riley joins Buffy and puts his hand on her shoulder. When she turns around, he’s turned into a demonic-looking man. Buffy wakes up from her dream to find that she’s missed the rest of the class. Willow teases that they covered everything they’ll need to know for the final. Riley joins them and says that Buffy looked peaceful. Willow heads off alone so they can talk in private, then sneaks around to eavesdrop on them. She’s happy to hear that Riley made an appearance in Buffy’s dream, though Buffy won’t tell him what happened.

He asks what she’s doing that night and she blurts out, “Patrolling” without thinking. She changes that to “petroleum,” which, of course, makes a lot more sense. He can’t tell her about his plans for the evening, either, so this relationship is really starting out great, huh? When they say goodbye, they clearly want to kiss each other, but Buffy gets distracted by the thought of the papers Riley said he had to grade, since they haven’t submitted any. This ruins the moment, and she chastises herself with, “Fortune favors the brave” as they split up without kissing.

She calls Giles to tell him about her dream and the girl’s song. He’s not sure if this is a prophetic dream or just “the eternal mystery” of Buffy’s brain. He asks Spike if he’s heard of the Gentlemen. No, and he wants more Wheetabix, which he likes to mix with blood. Giles is suitably grossed out.

Xander and Anya come over, bickering about whether he actually cares about her. She accuses him of just wanting her around for “lots of orgasms.” Spike is hilariously interested in seeing where this conversation goes. Xander reminds Anya that they discussed how private conversations aren’t private when they’re in front of his friends. “Oh, we’re not your friends. Go on,” Spike says.

Giles asked Xander to come over so he could take Spike home with him for a few days. Giles has a friend coming to town and wants them to have some time alone. Anya guesses that he means “an orgasm friend.” “Yes, that’s exactly the most appalling thing you could have said,” he replies. Xander will only let Spike stay with him if he gets tied up again (Giles is letting him have free reign of the apartment, I guess since he can’t hurt anyone). Spike refuses to stay in a basement where Xander and Anya are just going to have sex near him.

Willow attends a meeting of the campus Wicca group, which doesn’t include as much magic as she’d like. More specifically, it doesn’t include magic at all. They don’t want to play into stereotypes about witches. One attendee, Tara, is interested in Willow’s suggestion that they do actual spells, but she’s shy and stammers, so she doesn’t feel comfortable supporting her in public.

Willow meets up with Buffy later and complains that the group is full of “wanna-blessed-bes.” She’s stuck at the level of floating pencils. She asks how Buffy and Riley’s conversation went, but the fact that it was only a conversation bugs Buffy. She, like Willow, would like to move to the next level. She doesn’t like having to keep secrets from Riley about being the Slayer.

Riley is in a similar boat, not being able to tell Buffy about the Initiative. Forrest can empathize – they have a job that would make any woman fall at their feet, but they have to “Clark Kent” their way through dating, never being able to tell anyone. “Thank God we’re pretty,” he says. Riley thinks Buffy’s special (he’s said this a bunch, according to Forrest), and he wants to be able to talk to her about his life.

Xander ties Spike to a chair before going to bed. Spike doesn’t see the point, since he has no desire to bite Xander. Xander argues that he’s totally biteable. Spike uses falsetto to imitate Anya and complain about their relationship issues. Giles is still focused on the song from Buffy’s dream, but he’s stalled on figuring out what “they need to take seven” refers to. Olivia arrives and they quickly get to kissing. Giles is getting more action than Buffy is!

That night, the demonic-looking man from Buffy’s dream – one of the Gentlemen from the song – opens the box the girl was holding in a clock tower. While everyone’s asleep, their voices are drawn to the box and sealed inside. From this point until almost the end of the episode, there’s no dialogue outside of a TV report and computers.

In the morning, Buffy goes down the hall to use the dorm bathroom. On her way back to her room, she passes someone who’s crying. Willow wakes up as she returns and they try to greet each other but find that they can’t speak. Buffy sticks her head out of the room and sees that no one else in the dorm can speak, either. Xander and Spike are both afflicted as well, and Xander blames the vampire. Spike gives him the British version of the finger. Xander calls Buffy, but when she answers the phone, they both realize that was a stupid idea, since neither of them can talk. Too bad texting won’t be popular for a few more years.

Riley and Forrest head to the Initiative’s underground headquarters, having heard that the sudden loss of speech is a town-wide problem. Another problem: Without their voices, they can’t use the elevator’s vocal identification security procedure. Since their identities can’t be verified, they’ll be treated like hostiles. Riley opens a panel to try to override the system but can’t remember the access code. Just as gas starts to fill the elevator, it arrives in the lab. Amused, Walsh points to sign on the wall telling people to use the stairs when there’s an emergency.

The lobby of Tara’s dorm is as quiet as anywhere else on campus. A guy drops a bottle and the sound of it smashing makes everyone jump. Downtown, businesses are closed (except the liquor store) and people are distraught. A priest who must think the end is near tries to lead a Bible study, but all the attendees can do is read Scripture.

Buffy and Willow spot a guy selling dry-erase boards and take a couple to Giles’, where Xander and Anya are already hanging out. Buffy thinks the song from her dream could be connected to this. A new report states that the town has been quarantined because of a supposed laryngitis epidemic. Officials are saying it’s a bad side effect of recent flu vaccinations, and some people are calling it a hoax. A mass illness being considered a hoax? Who would ever think that?? Buffy writes on her board for Giles to keep researching. She wants to be in town tonight.

Walsh wants the same from the commandos. She uses a text-to-speech feature on a computer to tell them to dress in street clothes and keep the peace. The Initiative is as in the dark about what’s happening as everyone else is. That night, Buffy walks around town, where things are slowly spiraling into post-apocalyptic conditions. She spots Riley breaking up a fight between two men. One of the guys picks up a pipe to hit him, but Buffy casually breaks his arm to stop him before Riley even sees him. Buffy and Riley hug and silently confirm that they’re both doing okay. As they split up to continue their versions of patrolling, they pause long enough to kiss.

In the middle of the night, the Gentlemen float around town, accompanied by demonic-looking guys in straightjackets. Olivia wakes up and sees a couple of Gentlemen floating by the apartment. Two of them go to Buffy and Willow’s dorm, passing their room on their way to knock on someone else’s door. When he answers it, the straightjacketed minions grab him and hold him down.

He screams silently as a Gentleman opens a medical bag, pulls on a scalpel, and starts cutting him up. He takes the student’s heart to the clock tower, placing it next to some other hearts. The other Gentlemen give him golf claps, but he gestures modestly that it was nothing.

In the morning, Buffy sneaks into the student’s room and sees his body. Olivia sketches one of the Gentlemen as Giles sees that the lead story in the newspaper is about various murders around town. He starts putting the pieces together and goes to find a book of fairy tales.

He gathers the Scoobies in a classroom on campus and relays what he’s figured out via an overhead projector. (He adds his own soundtrack, “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saëns.) He informs the Scoobies that the Gentlemen are fairy-tale monsters. Willow points to her chest, trying to indicate that they want hearts. Xander thinks she means breasts. Anya, who’s eating popcorn, is enjoying herself.

Giles gives an overview of the Gentlemen’s story illustrated with his own drawings: They go to a town, take everyone’s voices so they can’t scream, and start cutting out hearts. Giles may have gone overboard with the red marker to show all the blood. He says the Gentlemen need seven hearts and have at least two already. Xander asks how to kill them. Buffy gestures that she can stake them, but without an actual stake in her hand, the movement looks…suggestive.

Giles doesn’t think it’ll work, since in the story, no swords could kill the Gentlemen. Instead, they were taken out by a princess’ scream. Willow suggests music, but it has to be a real, human voice. Buffy asks how she gets her voice back (because of course she’s the princess here). Giles doesn’t know. He puts up a slide saying she needs to patrol that night. She objects to the size of her hips in his drawing. Priorities, Buffy!

The Initiative has moved on from keeping the peace as civilians to suiting up in case they have to go to battle. Riley ends up alone near the clock tower, where he sees shadows moving behind the blinds. Tara has been reading up on spells that involve speech and silence, and she looks up Willow’s dorm so she can pay her a visit. On her way across campus, she trips and drops her books. Two Gentlemen and some minions silently move toward her without her noticing. As soon as she sees them, she runs. Buffy also spots a Gentleman in a neighborhood and gets ambushed by a minion.

Tara bangs on doors in Buffy and Willow’s dorm, hoping someone will let her hide in their room. No luck, so she has to keep running. Buffy kills a minion and chases after another as Riley goes into the clock tower and gets attacked by more. Tara finally makes it to Buffy and Willow’s hall, but Willow’s hesitant to respond to someone banging on a door. It turns out Tara’s at the wrong room, and she’s just moments too late to stop a Gentleman from cutting out another heart.

Some Gentlemen and minions chase her again as Willow comes out of her room to see what’s going on. Tara plows into her and Willow falls, hurting her ankle. They head to the stairs to keep escaping. In the clock tower, Riley tries to reach his gun and take out the minions. Buffy bursts in and starts fighting them. Riley gets up with his gun, pointing it straight at Buffy, who’s pointing a crossbow straight at him.

Though they both obviously want to know why the other is there, the two go right back to fighting the minions. Buffy takes out one by swinging into him on a rope. Back at Giles’, Spike gets a snack from the fridge (still using Giles’ “kiss the librarian” mug and starts picking up books while Anya naps on the couch. Xander comes in and sees Spike vamped out with blood on his lips next to a sleeping Anya. He gets the wrong idea and attacks Spike. Anya assures him that she’s okay, and Xander kisses her happily. She ruins the moment by making a gesture to invite him to go have sex.

Willow and Tara hide in the dorm’s laundry room, trying to move a soda machine to block the door. They’re not strong enough and Willow’s injury keeps her from accomplishing much. As she tries to use magic to move the machine with her mind, Tara realizes what she’s doing. She takes Willow’s hand and together they’re able to magically move the machine in front of the door.

Buffy and Riley are outnumbered by minions in the clock tower. She spots all the hearts as the Gentlemen arrive and one picks up a scalpel. Riley blasts him with a stun gun, and he and Buffy fight some more. The Gentleman with the scalpel is able to cut Buffy, and a minion grabs her from behind.

She spots the box from her dream and bangs on something to get Riley’s attention. She gestures for him to smash the box, but he doesn’t catch on to what she’s looking at and he smashes something else instead. Buffy makes an open-and-close motion that gets through to him, and he destroys the box. Everyone’s voices swoosh out and go back to the people they belong to. With one loud, long scream, Buffy makes the Gentlemen’s heads explode in goo.

Once everything’s back to normal, Tara tells Willow that she went looking for her so they could try a spell to restore everyone’s voices. She got a sense at the Wicca group that Willow, unlike the others, has actual powers. Tara’s been practicing magic since she was a kid; her mother had a lot of power like Willow does. Willow’s modest about her abilities and says she’s not anything special. “No, you are,” Tara says.

Olivia’s still at Giles’, trying to wrap her head around the fact that all his previous talk about witchcraft and the supernatural was real. He says everything he’s told her is true, except for his claim that he was one of the original members of Pink Floyd. Olivia finds it scary – maybe too scary to continue a relationship with him. And since we never see her again…yeah, I don’t think she’s ready for the supernatural world.

Riley goes to Buffy and Willow’s room so he and Buffy can finally talk about everything they’ve been keeping from each other. But after days of not being able to speak, having their voices back doesn’t mean they know what to say. They just sit there in silence.

Thoughts: One of the Gentlemen is played by Doug Jones. The late Andy Hallett, who later played Lorne on Angel, has an uncredited appearance as a student in the first scenes.

The Gentlemen are easily the creepiest villains in the whole series. I’ve seen less creepy monsters in horror movies.

We’ve seen it a little before and I notice here, too, that Buffy and Willow say hi or wave to people around campus. It’s a nice little indication that, unlike in high school, they have friends outside the Scoobies.

I think my favorite visual joke in this episode is Forrest writing, “Come on” on his notepad while Riley’s trying to trigger the vocal verification in the elevator, even though Riley’s facing away from him and can’t see it.

The priest’s study is on Revelation 15:1, which is a nice red herring since it mentions seven angels and seven plagues.

Shout-out to the guy who realized he could make a killing on dry-erase boards during a “laryngitis epidemic.”

1 Comment »

  1. Deja said,

    Top 5 Buffy episode

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