Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blog-o-ween: "Hush"

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.

I mean, COME ON. Though not technically a movie, the tenth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will give you the wiggins with the best of them. Written by personal god Joss Whedon (we kind of like him here at Once More with Geekery), the episode introduces into your nightmares "The Gentlemen," dapper demons who descend on communities, rob the citizens of their voices, and proceed to oh-so-delicately remove their hearts while the victims soundlessly scream. The episode has been rightly lauded for its technical bravado--there are only about seventeen minutes of dialog in the forty-five minute show. It's also notable for the way the Sunnydale-ites turn on each other within hours once silenced and quarantined. But it's the Gentlemen that really creep me out. Because of the silence, their graceful and precise movements (harshly juxtaposed against their straight-jacketed simian sidekicks) are highlighted and made all the more eerie and unsettling. Freud tells us the uncanny is psychically distressing not only because of foreignness but, crucially, because of familiarity. (The literal German translation is "un-homelike," with equal emphasis on both sides of the hyphen.) A civilized demon who dresses like a dandy and has a face distorted into a permanent rictus of death is going to get under our skin more than a Balrog any day of the week. I still can't bear to watch the scene when Giles's f-buddy Olivia is staring out a dark window into the empty night . . . and a Gentleman's face slides into the frame.


  1. How awesome was the scene in the classroom with Giles and his overheads? Just the right type and amount of levity for an episode like this. Plus the last scene where Buffy and Riley agree that they need to talk but then sit there in complete silence? Genius.

    So you know how we shorten our name to OMWGeekery once in a while (ahem, Twitter)? The other day I was thinking the OMW could also stand for Oh My Whedon!

  2. Yes! The classroom scene is genius. I like the Willow and Tara stuff too. "Wanna-blessed-be's."

    Hee. Oh my Whedon.