Hush (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode)

Hush (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode)

Infobox Television episode

Series=Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Airdate=December 14, 1999
Writer=Joss Whedon
Director=Joss Whedon
Episode list=List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes
Prev=Something Blue

"Hush" is the 10th episode of season 4 of the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Plot synopsis


The Gentlemen steal the voices of the population of Sunnydale, rendering everyone in the town unable to speak. Sunnydale is under a quarantine caused by the "mysterious" lost voices.

The Gentlemen, accompanied by The Footmen (who wear un-tied straitjackets), are trying to gather together seven human hearts from the residents of Sunnydale, who cannot scream or alert anyone to their being attacked. Using an overhead projector, music, and drawings, Giles reveals that the only thing that can defeat The Gentleman is a real human scream, so the focus turns to how Buffy can regain her voice.

Expanded overview

Professor Walsh talks about communication in class and then asks Buffy to come and lie on her desk for a demonstration. Riley steps forward and kisses Buffy, then the sun goes down. Buffy hears a young girl's voice and walks out of the classroom and into the halls where a girl holding a small box stands chanting a disturbing nursery rhyme (sung with a similar melody to "Master Of The House" from the musical Les Misérables):

: "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."

Buffy wakes up to see she was dreaming in class. As they're leaving, Riley inquires about Buffy's dream and then they talk about their plans for the night. Both make up excuses for their real plans and part ways, visibly unsatisfied.

Giles receives a phone call from Buffy and tries to research the information she gained from her dream about the Gentlemen. Spike makes himself very comfortable at Giles' place and complains about there not being any more Weetabix, (despite having eaten it all himself - "again",) since Spike claims he likes the occasional adding of Weetabix to his butcher's blood for texture. Repulsed by the mental image, Giles tells him to go and get some himself.

Xander and Anya arrive, arguing about whether Xander really loves her or — because Xander can't vocalize the way he feels — is only interested in her for sex. Giles informs Xander that he has to keep Spike with him for a few days because an old girlfriend of his will be coming over from England. None of them are particularly pleased about the arrangement: Xander can't trust Spike to be in the same room as him without restraints, and Spike doesn't particularly want to be around Xander or Anya, especially if they intend to be intimate with each other while he is tied to a chair in the same room. The three argue back and forth with Giles wearily in the middle.

Willow goes to her Wicca meeting but soon finds the girls are just wannabe Wiccans with no knowledge of real magicks. One girl, Tara, seems to be interested in magic, but she is shy and quiet, and easily cowed by the other members. After the meeting, Buffy complains to Willow how slowly her relationship with Riley is progressing, while Riley discusses the same with Forrest; both conclude that the reason they cannot progress their relationship is because of their inability to reveal their true identities to each other.

That night, before going to bed, Xander ties Spike down to a chair in his bedroom, even though Spike claims he wouldn't want to bite him even if he could. Spike begins an exaggerated imitation of Anya to annoy Xander. Olivia shows up at Giles' apartment, and after some brief talking they get right to kissing. At the clock tower, one of the Gentlemen opens a box, and the voices of all the people in Sunnydale float out from them and are drawn into the box.

When Buffy and Willow wake up the next morning and find they have no voices, they panic. Leaving their room, they see that nobody else in the dorms can speak, either. Xander, similarly panicked, blames Spike, only to receive a reversed V sign. Riley and Forrest try to enter the underground lab, but without his voice Riley cannot activate the voice-based security system on the elevator door. Professor Walsh opens the elevator and they are cowed when she points out a sign saying they should have used the stairs in the event of emergencies.

Buffy and Willow walk through the town, armed with dry-erase boards to write down their words (purchased from a street vendor at an inflated price). Sunnydale is closed down, except for bars and liquor stores; an open-air, silent church service suggests this is the end of the world. A television news report states that everyone in Sunnydale has come down with a case of laryngitis and the town has been quarantined. The threat of chaos looming that night, Buffy goes out to patrol, and Professor Walsh sends Riley and his team out incognito to maintain order. Riley and Buffy meet while walking out on the streets and as Riley is about to leave, he turns and kisses Buffy for the first time. Later that night, the Gentlemen and their weird minions lurk out into the night. Olivia wakes up in the middle of the night, and through the window she spies one of the Gentlemen, who travel by floating a foot in the air with their demon assistants, the Footmen, following on the ground.

Two Gentlemen float through the U.C. Sunnydale dorms, finding a freshman boy. Their demon assistants hold the boy down while they cut out his heart. The next morning, Olivia draws a picture of the creature she saw, and when Giles recognizes it, and reads about a spate of peculiar murders, he gets out a book of fairy tales. In a lecture room at the college, Giles tells the story of the Gentlemen through drawings and text on an overhead projector, with musical embellishment. The sound of a real human scream — not a recorded one, despite Willow's suggestion — can kill them, so they take away everyone's voices, allowing them to get the seven human hearts they need. Riley suits up and then goes out to patrol, while Buffy prepares to do the same.

Tara from the Wicca group tries to get to Willow's dorm when the Gentlemen chase after her. She finally makes it to Willow's dorm, and the two girls make a run for it. Riley is attacked by several of the Gentlemen's demon assistants in the clock tower, until Buffy shows up and starts fighting alongside him. The two are first shocked to see each other, but have neither time nor the ability to speak about it.

Spike vamps out while drinking a mug of blood at Giles' house; as he bends down by the sofa on which Anya is sleeping, Xander sees blood on Spike's lip and the unconscious Anya and concludes Spike has bitten Anya. Xander punches Spike several times before Anya and Giles stop him. He then kisses her passionately, and, realizing he does indeed love her, Anya suggests (non-verbally) they have sex.

Hiding in a laundry room, Willow and Tara combine their powers to move a vending machine in front of a door to protect them from the Gentlemen. Buffy gets caught by the Igor-like Footmen and the Gentlemen are about to cut into her when Riley shoots them with bolts of electricity. They fight and one of the demons grabs Buffy as she spots the box of voices on the table and recognizes it from her dream. She points it out to Riley and, after one false try, he smashes the box. Everyone's voice is returned, and Buffy lets out a loud and long scream, which causes the Gentlemen's heads to explode in a shower of green slime.

The next day, Willow and Tara talk about being real witches, while Giles and Olivia talk about how many scary things there really are and her reluctance to be part of Giles' world. Riley goes to Buffy's dorm to talk, but they sit in silence as neither knows what to say.


The two more prominent Gentlemen are played by Camden Toy, who will play other monsters during the show (e.g. Gnarl, the first Turok-Han etc.), and Doug Jones (as the leader), who would later play the Faun in the Oscar-winning movie "Pan's Labyrinth".


*Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
*Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
*Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
*James Marsters as Spike
*and Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles

Guest starring

*Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
*Emma Caulfield as Anya
*Leonard Roberts as Forrest Gates
*Phina Oruche as Olivia
*Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
*Brooke Bloom as Nicole
*Jessica Townsend as Cheryl
*and Lindsay Crouse as Maggie Walsh


*Camden Toy as Gentleman
*Charlie Brumbly as Gentleman
*Doug Jones as Lead Gentleman
*Don W. Lewis as Gentleman
*Carlos Amezcua as Newscaster
*Elizabeth Truax as Little Girl
*Wayne Sable as Freshman

Production details

Joss Whedon created this episode after hearing repeatedly that the crucial part of his series was the dialogue. [Hush Featurette in Special Features of Volume 3, Season 4] This episode contains very little actual dialogue. The actors succeed in expressing the storyline without using words, and the "background" music also plays a huge role in the narrative success of the episode.

* Actor and former personal assistant to Joss Whedon Andy Hallett appeared as an extra in the opening classroom scene of this episode. He would later go on to play Lorne in the Buffy spin-off "Angel".

* Joss Whedon wanted "The Gentlemen" to be very nightmarish, hoping that they would be a monster children would remember being scared of later in their lives.

* In the commentary for this episode Joss Whedon notes that, in retrospect, Sunnydale's reaction - an abrupt turn to religion and shameless commerce - reminded him of the reaction to 9/11.

* A couple of years previously, Anthony Head had had a recurring role in the BBC drama series "Jonathan Creek", which uses Saint-Saëns' "Danse Macabre" as its main title theme. Joss Whedon has stated that the use of "Danse Macabre" in a scene largely presided over by Giles was coincidental.

That the episode is all about communication is highlighted when Buffy and Riley sit down to talk about their feelings for each other and their respective secrets, once The Gentlemen have been vanquished, and they sit in uncomfortable silence until the end credits start.


On the DVD interview, Christophe Beck says he thoroughly enjoyed the task of writing the episode's soundtrack; one scene also uses Camille Saint-Saëns's "Danse Macabre" to somewhat melodramatic (and humorous) effect.

*Christophe Beck – Suite from "Hush": Silent Night / First Kiss / Enter the Gentlemen / Schism
*Christophe Beck – "Demon Got Your Tongue"
*Christophe Beck – "Golf Claps"
*Christophe Beck – "The Princess Screams"


* Italian title: "L'urlo che uccide" ("The cry that kills")
* German title: "Das große Schweigen" ("The Great Hush")
* French title: "Un silence de mort" ("A Deadly Silence")
* Spanish title: "Silencio" ("Silence")

Quotes and trivia

*The electro/shoegaze group, The Very Hush Hush, has alluded in interviews to receiving inspiration for their name from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", rather than the more obvious reference of the tag-line for "L.A. Confidential" ("Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush").

*The Bible verse written on the chalk board by the priest is Revelation 15:1. "I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God's wrath is completed." (NIV)

* The reversed V sign made by Spike is an insulting gesture used in the UK, akin to the finger.

* At Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando, a maze in their 2005 event, "Body Collectors," featured The Gentlemen removing valuable body parts from sacrificial victims. In 2008, Universal Studios Orlando brought The Gentlemen back to Halloween Horror Nights in a new maze, "Body Collectors: Collections of the Past," a nineteenth-century prequel to the 2005 maze.

*The actors actually deliver all of their lines as normal, and the dialogue was muted so that the lip reading early on was identifiable. With a high enough volume on a television set Alyson Hannigan can be heard to say the first part of her line "I've gone deaf." when she and Buffy are in the dorm.

*Joss Whedon originally planned to produce the Musical episode "Once More With Feeling" in place of this episode.Fact|date=September 2008 However,Xena:Warrior Princess had recently shown a musical episode so the idea was put on hold. This episode uses composed Music in place of Dialogue. By contrast, "The Body" uses no music and puts focus on Dialogue

Reception and reviews

The original airing of "Hush" received 6.6 million viewers, the highest rated episode of the seasonFact|date=October 2007 and earned "Buffy" its first Emmy nomination (for best original writing), but did not win. It was voted the 25th scariest film moment of all time in a poll conducted by British TV channel Channel 4. [Citation |url= |title=100 Greatest Scary Moments |accessdate=2007-10-21 |publisher=Channel 4 Film ]

Special-effects makeup artist Robert Hall says he admires the design of the Gentlemen: "That's a prime example of a great makeup design and a great actor bringing it to life," he says. "You can only do so much with a big stunt guy in a monster suit lumbering towards the camera. They wonder why he's not so eloquent and creepy and scary as The Gentlemen." [Citation |url=,1002,274|79168|1|,00.html |title=Almost Human: From Beneath They Devour |date=November 29 2002 |first=Kate |last=O'Hare |location=Los Angeles | |accessdate=2007-10-21 ]


*Despite Spike demanding his blood at body temperature (ninety-eight point six degrees) in the previous episode, here he shows no qualms with drinking blood chilled in a refrigerator. This preference continues for the rest of the series.

* This episode marks the first appearance of Tara Maclay, and it becomes evident that Willow and her future girlfriend will become powerful forces in one another's lives. Willow's homosexuality had first been hinted at in the Season 3 episode "Doppelgangland".

* Anya and Xander start the episode arguing, as Anya believes Xander does not love her; later, though, his actions after he believes Spike has bitten her, resolve her doubts.

Arc significance

* Though Buffy and Riley discover each other's secret identities in this episode, technically they don't become fully aware of the details until the next. By this point the viewers already know all of the pertinent details of the characters' secrets.

* After the Gentlemen are defeated, Giles asks his girlfriend, Olivia, if she can deal with the dangers in his life, and she replies that she doesn't know. She is never seen again (with the exception of Giles's dream sequence in "Restless"), although Buffy refers to her a few episodes later in "Who Are You", still as his girlfriend. The audience can assume that she had decided to stay away, and that the decision was either not shared with Buffy, or made after "A New Man".

* The first appearance of Tara Maclay


External links

* [ Soulful Spike Society analysis of "Hush"]
* [ BBC episode guide to "Hush"]
* [ episode guide to "Hush"]
* [ Buffy Body Count synopsis of "Hush"]
* [ Doug Jones - the Lead Gentleman]
* [ Horror Nights "Hush" maze- The Body Collectors]
* [ Photos from "Hush" maze- The Body Collectors]

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