10 Best Single Episode Villains (BtVS)
2 5 01. The Gentlemen
Episode: Hush (Season 4, Episode 10)
A truly creepy group of villains in a fantastic, genuinely eerie, horror-esque episode, the Gentleman were – by far – the most memorable single episode villains from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The concept of the Gentlemen was so good that it could quite easily hold its own as a horror franchise unto itself.
The Gentlemen were pale, bald humanoids with metallic teeth, who travelled from town to town with their demonic henchmen (who wore straight-jackets, nonetheless) and their magical box. The box stole the voices of everyone in the town they were in, which enabled them to go about their dastardly business without the worry of hearing a human voice – which would kill them – while also giving them the added luxury of their victims not being able to call for help or scream. The Gentlemen needed seven human hearts to stay alive, so they would take a scalpel from their satchels and cut out their victims hearts while they were still alive and attempting to scream in vain. They moved by hovering, which added an extra layer of creepiness to an already terrifying concept.
Their appearance made for a truly unique and excellent episode, which stemmed from Buffy creator Joss Whedon hearing somebody say that his show would be nothing without the snappy dialogue. Whedon saw this as a challenge and opted to produce an episode that lacked that snappy dialogue, creating the Gentlemen as a tool to make that possible. The episode was a huge success, proving that Whedon’s show had more depth than some people were led to believe.
Buffy and Riley Finn ultimately defeated the Gentlemen during a final encounter with them, when Buffy instructed Riley to smash their box. He does so and Buffy proceeds to let out a massive scream, which causes their heads to explode and green slime to splash everywhere.
3 7.7 02. Sweet
Episode: Once More, With Feeling (Season 6, Episode 7)
Sweet was the nickname of a very powerful demon whose mere presence could cause the inhabitants of an entire city to sing and dance as though they were living in a musical, which would also cause some of the victims to spontaneously combust if they did it for too long. People under Sweet’s spell would sing about anything, from dry cleaning to relationships – and it also caused them to give away secrets, such as Buffy revealing that she was cruelly torn out of heaven when Willow Rosenberg and Buffy’s other friends resurrected her.
Sweet was summoned by Xander, supposedly, who claimed he wanted to bring some joy to Sunnydale before his upcoming wedding to Anya. However, this is dubious, as many viewers believe Xander simply stepped in to take the blame when people were initially blaming Buffy’s sister, Dawn Summers.
Sweet was supposedly bound by certain rules such as marrying whoever summoned him and taking them to his own hell dimension, but seemed to have the authority to ignore them if he so desired (and given some of the reality-warping powers he displayed, this authority wasn’t surprising).
Ultimately, Sweet left of his own accord, not wanting Xander to be his ‘queen’. He left with the parting shot that, having caused a lot of secrets to be revealed, the Scoobies hadn’t come out of the encounter well.
Sweet’s presence made for a truly unique, entertaining and award-winning episode, as the cast (most of whom weren’t singers or dancers by any stretch of the imagination) gave impressive performances of a nature we had never seen before.
1 3 03. Der Kindestod
Episode: Killed By Death (Season 2, Episode 11)
Der Kindestod (which translates from German as ‘the child’s death’) was a demon who was invisible to everyone but children and those who were feverishly ill.
He was a creepy looking creature (who seemed to be partially influenced in terms of appearance by Freddy Krueger) who killed children by literally sucking the life out of them. Afterwards, it appeared as though they had died of fever. Because of this, Der Kindestod preyed on children who were already ill, leaving little evidence to suspect their deaths were unnatural – especially given that no adults would ever see him carrying out the killings, due to him being invisible to them.
One of his victims was a girl named Celia, whose death was witnessed by her cousin, Buffy Summers.
In 1998, Buffy encountered Der Kindestod again whilst being treated for flu at Sunnydale General Hospital.
After investigating the killings and discovering what was carrying them out, Buffy – having recovered from her illness – purposely contracted the flu again in order to be able to see Der Kindestod. She fought him whilst ill and weakened, but ultimately killed him by breaking his neck.
2 1 04. Olaf
Episode: Triangle (Season 5, Episode 11)
Olaf was once a human Viking (who, ironically, often hunted trolls) and Aud’s AKA Anya’s former lover. He cheated on her with a ‘load-bearing’ bar matron called Rannveig and was subsequently punished by her cursing him with boils on his penis and then transforming him into a gigantic troll, using a spell known as Thornton’s Hope.
It was the skill shown in carrying out this spell which brought Aud (Anya) to the attention of the demon D’Hoffryn, who recruited her as a vengeance demon.
At first, Olaf tried in vain to make his fellow humans recognise him in troll form, but within minutes he adjusted to his new form and began enjoying his new powerful status. Olaf, however, was eventually trapped in a crystal by witches.
Olaf would eventually be inadvertently freed from this crystal by Willow Rosenberg when one of her spells went awry due to Anya’s inability to keep quiet during the casting of it.
Olaf would go on to cause mayhem in the Bronze and at the Magic Shop, whilst threatening to pillage the land, eat babies, make merry sport with the more attractive women of Sunnydale and… burn their crops. He badly injured Xander and was going to make him choose who he was going to kill – his friend Willow or his lover Anya (who, as previously mentioned, was also Olaf’s lover in his life as a human) – but he was defeated by Buffy and sent to an alternate universe.
Olaf’s hammer would later be used by Buffy herself during her battle against the hell-god Glory.
3 4.3 05. Moloch the Corruptor
Episode: I Robot, You Jane (Season 1, Episode 8)
Moloch was a demon whose soul was trapped inside a book by an order of monks in the 15th century.
When Willow Rosenberg was studying, she scanned the book’s text in to a computer, which set Moloch free in to cyberspace.
Finding he had the ability to jump between machines and control any system he entered, Moloch adopted the name ‘Malcolm Black’ and wooed (pre-lesbian) Willow in a chatroom. He also used his ability to mesmerise to persuade a pair of geeks to be his flunkies and to persuade some scientists from Calax Research and Development to build him a mechanical body to inhabit.
When Buffy began to be suspicious of ‘Malcolm’, Moloch ordered one of the geeks (‘Fritz’) to kill her, which he obviously failed in doing, whilst also arranging to meet Willow in his new robotic body (which resembled a cross between a Terminator and a Predator). He claimed to genuinely love Willow for freeing him, but tried to kill her after she rejected him.
Rupert Giles and Jenny Calendar attempted to trap Moloch back in the book, but failed – only managing to sever his connection to all of the information on the internet – so it was down to Buffy to physically challenge Moloch. Buffy couldn’t hurt him due to him being made of metal, so was forced to trick him in to punching a circuit breaker, which overloaded his robotic body and disabled him once and for all.
2 1.5 06. Gnarl
Episode: Same Time, Same Place (Season 7, Episode 3)
Gnarl was a vile demon who had long, talon-shaped fingernails which secreted a paralysing poison that rendered his victims completely immobile, although they could still talk a little bit. The paralysis wouldn’t wear off until Gnarl died, which gave him the luxury of being able to feed on his victim’s skin while they were still alive.
Gnarl also had acute reflexes and agility, being able to appear out of nowhere. He used this speed to strike Dawn and quickly retreat away from the scene. Gnarl was also immune to magic, evident from the fact that Willow tried to cast a spell on him but it did absolutely nothing. Gnarl even said he loves spells and keeps them as ‘pets’.
He appeared in the episode Same Time, Same Place, at the same time that Willow was due to return from her rehabilitation in England after she turned evil and tried to end the world. Bodies were found skinned – something Willow had done to Warren Mears prior to her rehabilitation - leading people to believe she was responsible.
Willow’s fear of seeing her friends led to her being invisible to them and vice versa, so while Gnarl had paralysed Willow and was eating her skin, Buffy and the Scoobies didn’t know this – which led to all kinds of problems.
Ultimately, Buffy killed Gnarl by thrusting her thumbs in to his eyeballs. Nice.
2 3 07. Ted Buchanan
Episode: Ted (Season 2, Episode 11)
Ted was a robot, created by an inventor going by the same name in the 1950′s, after his wife had left him. The human Ted created the robot with the intention of it being the man he should have been. However, the robot actually kidnapped the real Ted’s departed wife and held her hostage in a bunker until she died.
Following this event, the robot Ted continued to carry out this process with various other women, well in to the 1990′s when he met Joyce Summers – the slayer’s Mother – after helping her with some computer issues in her job at an art gallery.
At first, when he started dating Joyce, robot Ted seemed like the perfect man – but Buffy was always suspicious of him, much to Joyce’s disgust. He had actually laced Joyce, Buffy and the Scoobies’ food with a toxin that made them more compliant, encouraging them to like him more.
Buffy was becoming more and more unnerved by Ted’s behaviour and the two got in to a fight when he found her weapons and read her diary detailing her life as a slayer. Ted called her delusional and threatened to tell Joyce and, after a struggle, he fell down the stairs and was declared dead.
He reactivated after having been taken to the morgue and went back to the Summers’ household, knocking Buffy out cold and then doing the same to Joyce – putting in to action his plan to keep her hostage like his previous victims.
Buffy ultimately beat Ted with a frying pan, which revealed his robotic nature to her (making her feel better about having beaten him up), and finished him off for good. Willow Rosenberg kept some of his parts for study, which would later help her in her efforts to reprogramme the Buffybot in future seasons.
2 6 08. Daryl Epps
Episode: Some Assembly Required (Season 2, Episode 2)
Daryl Epps was a student at Sunnydale High. A popular guy who was the running back for the Sunnydale Razorbacks and all-round talented football player whom Cordelia Chase had been in love with.
Sadly, Daryl was killed in a rock climbing accident which heavily affected his entire family. His brother, Chris, became something of a recluse and ultimately used an unknown means to reanimate Daryl’s corpse, bringing him back to life as an undead being – and a character whose physical appearances was attributed to that of Frankenstein’s monster.
Furthermore, the Frankenstein theme was extended by Daryl’s need for a mate. Chris attempted to create an undead bride for Daryl, taking the bodies of three dead teenage girls from the scene of a car accident and making the perfect girl from their body parts. Sadly, due to tissue degeneration, the attempts failed as Chris realised he needed a fresh brain – and thus needed to kill a girl in order to take her still-functioning brain for the bride.
Cordelia was chosen as the girl whose brain would be used, but Buffy and Xander reached Chris and Daryl before they had the chance to kill her. Buffy and Daryl fought, resulting in some hazardous containers toppling over and causing a fire, which Daryl chose to die in.
15 9.1 09. Dracula
Episode: Buffy Vs Dracula (Season 5, Episode 1)
Don’t get me wrong, as a depiction of the classic Dracula, this guy sucked (excuse the terrible pun). But, as a standalone character or simply as a unique twist on the more renowned depictions of the infamous Count, he definitely made for a fun episode.
Dracula arrived in Sunnydale completely out of the blue. His ‘big, honking castle’ (as Riley described it) magically appeared out of nowhere on Sunnydale’s horizon.
The Dark Prince first appeared in a graveyard, claiming to be the famous Count Dracula, which Buffy didn’t believe (claiming that many vampires before him had made the bold claim). But when he turned to mist after she tried to stake him, and subsequently flew off in bat form after her friends arrived, Buffy and company were more convinced.
Drac soon turned Xander in to his mind-controlled, bug-eating slave (reminiscent of Renfield from the classic Dracula stories) in order to lure Buffy to him, which ultimately worked, but Buffy defeated Dracula (in a sense) by staking him twice, not killing him, but warning him off and sending him away from Sunnydale.
1 4 010. Peter Clarner
Episode: Beauty and the Beasts (Season 3, Episode 4)
Peter Clarner was a student at Sunnydale High who created a potion with the intent of making himself stronger and more desirable to his girlfriend Debbie, whom he thought was going to leave him.
The potion ended up making Pete mutate when he was angry. He became a disfigured, demonic looking version of himself with razor sharp claws – in addition to the desired effect of boosted strength.
Such was Pete’s envy of Debbie’s relationship with Jeff, a fellow student, and Stephen Platt, Sunnydale High’s guidance counsellor, that he killed them. He carried the attacks out so viciously, that upon their discovery, Buffy et al initially thought the attacks must have been carried out by Oz in werewolf form or the feral, recently returned from hell Angel.
Debbie exposed Pete for his deeds, angering him to the extent that he killed her, and Buffy looked to bring him down. She caught up with him but he quickly overpowered her and it was only the interference of Angel that swayed the fight in favour of the good guys. Angel ultimately caught Pete by surprise and broke his neck, bringing his brief reign of terror to a stop.
Having been a match for Oz in werewolf form in a previous encounter, a match for Angel before being caught by surprise, and a match for Buffy herself, Pete Clarner was a formidable foe.