Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran for seven seasons and 144 episodes, but there was really only one true Christmas episode, Amends, which ran during season three.
I guess the positively amazing Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Hush could technically be considered a Christmas episode since it ran in December during the fourth season (and it really was a gift that fans would NEVER want to return) but it did not focus on Christmas.
Amends contained everything you could want in a Christmas story: ghosts, camaraderie, melancholy yearning, self-reflection, a Christmas tree lot, forgiveness, a surprise white Christmas, “crappy gifts,” and yes, love. It also featured a group of icky foot soldiers for The First Evil, known as the Harbingers of Death (or the Bringers for short).
The Bringers have self-mutilated themselves, so they have no eyes, only really grotesque scarred-over X’s, and they are, of course, up to no good. Their incantations are causing Angel to have bad dreams and see visions of the humans he has killed.
Angel is visited by ghosts of Christmas past in this episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
One of these ghost-like figures is Jenny Calendar, whose neck was broken by Angelus (AKA Angel without his soul) during Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s second season. Since she was Giles’s girlfriend, the Scooby Gang’s favorite librarian naturally carries a grudge against Angel. But, to give him credit, he does let Angel in his apartment when the desperate vampire asks him for help. I mean, he holds a crossbow on him the entire time, but he does listen.
The other ghosts are both from Angelus’s homeland of Ireland; a young man named Daniel and a terrified housemaid named Margaret. As Angel dreams of biting Margaret, Buffy suddenly appears, making it clear that she is experiencing the same nightmare. *Side note: The REALLY scary thing about this particular dream is Angelus’s horrible wig.
Throughout the episode, we are treated to holiday plans as Joyce and Buffy shop for a Christmas tree and discuss inviting Faith over for Christmas Eve dinner. Faith naturally declines because she has been invited to a really rad party that night. Oh, and we also hear the news reports that it will be even warmer than usual in Sunnydale for Christmas.
Eventually, Jenny begins to tell Angel that the only way for his pain to end is to “take” Buffy. She promises that everything will be fine after that, and though he resists, it’s clear he is starting to become desperate.
Faith shows up on Christmas Eve with what she declares to be “crappy gifts,” When Buffy goes to her room to get her own gift for Faith, she finds Angel there. He jumps out of the window to avoid giving in to his blood lust, and Buffy decides that Giles is the only person who can help her fix whatever evil is happening.
After Jenny’s ghost returns to torment Angel again, he decides that the only way to escape his torment without killing Buffy is suicide by sunlight. When Buffy and Giles finally figure out how to reach the Bringers, Buffy breaks up their party, along with the spell Angel has been under.
When Buffy finds Angel, it is nearly sunrise, and she begs him to leave before it’s too late, but he is determined. He tells Buffy that he wants her more than anything, and says “I know it’ll cost me my soul, and a part of me doesn’t care.” It’s an honest, touching moment, and just as it seems the sun will rise and Angel will die, it begins to snow.
After hearing that Sunnydale residents shouldn’t expect to see the sun at all on Christmas Day, we are treated to shots of Giles, Willow and Oz, Faith and Joyce and Xander (sadly outside in a sleeping bag; it seems his family gets wasted and fights every year at Christmas) watching the snowfall. And as the episode ends, we see Buffy and Angel walking hand in hand through town as Sunnydale becomes, for a brief moment in time, a winter wonderland.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a complex series, at times comical, frightening, harrowing and touching, but the sentimental atmosphere of Amends truly lent itself to the holiday season.
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