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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 4, Episode 10
410 Hush
Air date December 14, 1999
Written by Joss Whedon
Directed by Joss Whedon
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"Hush" is the tenth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the sixty-sixth episode altogether. It was written and directed by Joss Whedon. It originally broadcast on December 14, 1999.

Synopsis

Fairytale monsters called The Gentlemen steal the voices of everyone in Sunnydale (including the Scooby Gang).

Summary

Professor Maggie 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:

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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), claiming he likes to add it to his butcher's blood sometimes 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.
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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 him 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.

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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 of their mouths 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, whose gesticular response is very clear. 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. A doomcrying street preacher silently suggests it's the end of the world.
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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 Gentlemen's footmen, following on the ground. Two Gentlemen float through the UC 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.
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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.

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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 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.

Quotes and trivia

  • Anya: You mean an orgasm friend?
Giles: Yes, that's precisely the most appalling thing you could have said!
  • Spike: We're out of Weetabix
Giles: We are out of Weetabix because you ate it all. Again.
Spike: Get some more.
Giles: I thought vampires were supposed to eat blood.
Spike: Yeah, well sometimes I like to crumble up the Weetabix in the blood. Gives it a little texture.
Giles: Since the picture you just painted means that I will never touch food of any kind again, you'll just have to pick it up yourself.
Spike: Sissy.
  • Olivia: All the time you used to talk to me about witchcraft and darkness and the like - I just thought you were being pretentious.
Giles: Oh, I was. I was also right.
Olivia: So everything you told me was true?
Giles: Well, no. Um, I wasn't actually one of the original members of Pink Floyd. But about the monster stuff, yes.
  • Buffy: No actual witches in your witch group?
Willow: No. Bunch of Wanna-Blessed-Bes. You know, nowadays every girl with a henna tattoo and a spice rack thinks she's a sister to the dark ones.
  • Joss Whedon created this episode after hearing repeatedly that the crucial part of his series was the dialogue.
  • Joss Whedon wanted "The Gentleman" to be very nightmarish, hoping that they would be monsters children would remember being scared of later in their lives.
  • Andy Hallett, an actor and former personal assistant to Joss Whedon, appeared as an extra in the opening classroom scene of this episode. He would later go on to play Lorne on Angel.
  • For "Halloween Horror Nights 15", Universal Orlando created a haunted maze based off the episode titled "The Body Collectors". The Gentlemen's masks and costumes along with the Footmen (or Workers, as they were titled) were all practical copies of the Buffy episode, however the storyline revolved around the men collecting bodies instead of voices and dismembering them.
  • The electro/shoegaze group, The Very Hush Hush, has alluded in interviews to receiving inspiration for their name from Buffy, rather than the more obvious source: L.A. Confidential ("Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush.").

Music

  • Camille Saint-Saëns - "Danse Macabre"
  • 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"
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