The 10 Most Heartbreaking Moments In Buffy The Vampire Slayer

The season 5 episode “The Body” is the saddest “Buffy” episode in its run and certainly one of the most tragic television episodes of all time. You know the premise: Buffy’s mom, Joyce (Kristine Sutherland), dies of a brain aneurysm, and the whole gang has to face the devastating fallout of her death.

The first blow (arguably the biggest) is when Buffy discovers Joyce’s body. She’s on the couch, seemingly asleep — until Buffy realizes that’s not the case. Buffy experiences the next few minutes in a daze, mirroring the real-life experiences of those who have lost loved ones. She calls out to her mom, performs CPR to no avail, and stumbles around the house while she waits for medics to arrive.

It’s not until Giles arrives that she realizes what’s happened: Joyce is dead, and she’s never coming back. Though fans celebrate the show’s soundtrack and score, there is no music in “The Body,” only the horrifying silence when Joyce doesn’t respond. What makes the experience even harder for Buffy is that there are no supernatural elements at play here, meaning there’s no one she can fight or justice to serve. “The Body” is incredibly difficult to watch, and Gellar’s performance in these first few minutes is nothing short of eviscerating.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

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