Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 4 Episode 10


Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Dec 14, 1999 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
1,034 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


The entire town of Sunnydale goes silent when a group of strange creatures called The Gentlemen appear and steal everyone's voices. Buffy and the gang must solve the mystery and overcome the bad guys without being able to verbally discuss their battle plan.

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  • An episode that redefines the extent of TV filmmaking!

    Terrifying, stunning and ingenious, "Hush" is an episode that simply redefines the meaning of TV filmmaking. An episode that is hardly completely original, as it borrows heavily from horror classics such as "Nightmare on Elm Street" but one that so perfectly sees Joss Whedon combine all his sources of inspiration, "Hush" provides Buffy fans with arguably some of the very few greatest villains of the entire series. The Gentlemen are terrifying, brilliantly envisioned and a complete mystery.

    Joss Whedon's idea to direct "Hush" in much the same way that silent films were made began when he received endless praise for the dialogue of his series, which many claimed to be the source of Buffy's immense success. Taking this to heart, Joss Whedon has created an episode that has forever silenced such criticism, as "Hush" is dialogueless for almost half an hour. Immensely suspenseful as a result, "Hush" is the perfect Buffy episode that just so manages to be a Monster Of the Week episode.

    The Gentlemen themselves are characters that could so easily be envisioned into a horror franchise, especially seeing how Hollywood cashes so much horror garbage into franchises nowadays. But the main brilliance to "Hush" lies in the psychological fear of silence and an inability to scream in the face of terror. The commentary on human interactions, in the form of hand improvised language, is brilliant as Whedon conveys that language is not just restricted to the verbal but extended to the physical.

    On top of all this amazement that "Hush" brings forth, it also introduces a wonderful new character, Tara, as well as commencing the Buffy-Riley relationship, which many have cast out their hatred towards. An episode that is more than interesting or exciting, "Hush" will forever haunt you. It has to be one of Joss Whedon's best creations.moreless
  • ''How do we kill them'' **Strange Buffy movement with her hand up and down**

    Great. The first time i saw this episode, i thought it was the probably episode from Buffy i've seen. The premise is just clever. I never saw a kind of episode with no dialogue. Exceptional. The ''Danse Macrabe'' part was the funniest part of Buffy's episode. The movement that Buffy made to the entire group after Xander asked how could they kill the Gentlemen, was to fun. The act by Willow about put the sound from a CD trying to kill the Gentlemen, was also funny. How polite are the Gentlemen, is so funny, choosing the victims, though i felt bad for the poor freshman killed by them. And Tara. Her first appareance. The ritual between and Willow, movien the snack machine is just romantic. The foreshadowing of her relationship (Why did they kill her, anyway). The Buffy/Riley discover, was too unexpected. And the funniest part was when Buffy makes the sound to call Riley's attention, and he end up breaking a heart instead the box, and Buffy's face expression, is priceless. Definitevely a great episode, great is just too short, best episode ever.moreless
  • Hush.

    This is, without any doubt, the best MOTW (monster of the week) stand-alone BtVS episode in the series, and is a great introduction for people who aren't interested in the series because it represents a large part of what makes BtVS so great and does it without the viewer needing any backstory. "Hush" is technically comprised of a 'gimmick:' everyone in Sunnydale loses their voice. If nearly any other show used a device like this, I can guarantee you it would be played completely for not-funny laughs and we'd learn nothing new about any of the characters. On this series we instead get the opposite and everything is actually done right. Whedon makes full use of the unique situation the characters are in to keep their development moving.

    This 'gimmick' is used to move characters into new places. All of this development is subtly wrapped in a package that's creepy, funny, involving, and just plain entertaining. Those are all things BtVS is on an episode-to-episode basis (well, except for the creepy part), but Whedon manages to do all of it without his trademark dialog. So I'd argue this episode is not a gimmick, as that term is generally used in the derogatory sense. "Hush" is the first in what is an extremely accomplished list of episodes which use various "unique situations" as a way to continue the story of these characters. These episodes include: "Restless" (4x22, done entirely in dream sequences), "The Body" (5x16, no music, incidental or otherwise), "Once More, with Feeling" (6x07, the musical), and "Conversations with Dead People" (7x07, none of the main characters speak to or see each other).

    This episode has a very clear theme, which Professor Walsh explains at the very beginning. She says, "Talking about communication, talking about the same thing. It's about the idea, but the moment before the idea when it's total. When it blossoms in your mind and connects to everything. It's about the thoughts and experiences that we don't have a word Shortly after this, Buffy almost lets Riley kiss her but interrupts him with a meaningless question. We're already seeing Walsh's words ring true. These two are certainly using language . babbling) with each other, but they're not communicating their true feelings -- words and nerves keep getting in the way. When their ability to babble disappears, real communication finally appears. This is the moment when they finally kiss.

    Buffy and Riley aren't the only ones afflicted by the deficiencies of language. Anya says to Xander, "You don't care about what I think. You don't ask about my day ... What do I mean to you?" Xander's reponse is simply, "I... we, you know we spend... we'll talk about it This isn't Xander's fault, though, as Anya's been equally misleading. Their relationship was initiated by an aggresive Anya who thought that sex with him would get him out of her thoughts, but that didn't work. She's continued to grown attached to him and he's just kind of gone along with it. Later in the episode, when they can't speak to each other, Xander is able to communicate what Anya means to him without saying a word. He thinks Spike bit her so he punches the crap out of him. Once Xander realises that she's okay, he kisses her with relief and Anya looks very happy to get a confirmation that Xander does actually have real feelings for her. Their relationship is finally beginning to move beyond just sex.

    Early on in the episode we see Willow at that wicca group she said she wanted to check out back in "Wild at Heart" (4x06). It turns out that none of these girls seem to have any real power, and that the group only chants together and has bake sales. This scene is also the introduction of Tara, the girl who looks like she actually knows something about spells but gets ridiculed by the rest of the group. Willow is let down by this group because they have no power, and that bores her. Willow is hungry for more power right now, although it hasn't reached the point of obsession or addiction yet (that happens in S6). This has been a theme we've seen being hit on really strong ever since "Doppelgangland" (3x16). It's popped up in significant ways this season before this episode with "Wild at Heart" (4x06) and "Something Blue" (4x09).

    We find out that Tara really does have some power later on. She and Willow put their hands together and connect on a magical level in a very cool, well-shot scene. This event is the catalyst for more exploration of magic, which Willow has been looking for. It's interesting to note that Tara's personality reminds me a whole lot of Willow back in S1. This is why Willow will be the dominant figure in their relationship. At the end of this episode Tara's adoration of Willow's power and confidence in herself is already being shown. It also displays just how much Willow has grown since the beginning of the series. That growth has been very gradual as well, so you don't really notice the overall change until a character like Tara comes into the picture to remind you what Willow used to be like.

    There's a few scenes that are really subtle and display just how well Whedon does characters. I just absolutely love how, even though no one can speak through a large portion of the episode, it is completely clear what everyone is trying to say to each other. Most television shows don't have writing good enough to fully accomplish the same thing even when their characters are speaking. A subtle example of this episode at its best is when Buffy and Willow enter Giles' place. He puts his hand on Buffy's shoulder with a very warm smile while Willow's writing frantically on a white board. It turns out the urgent thing Willow needed to say was simply, "Hi He then gives her some comforting glances as well. Just by watching these subtle gestures and expressions it's not too difficult to see that Giles is very much a father figure for Buffy, and to a lesser extent, the entire group.

    For once the plot of a BtVS motw stand-alone is actually really good. The Gentlemen float into town and manage to creep everyone, including myself, out. The scene which best describes how creepy these guys are is the one that apparently came out of Whedon's own dreams. You wake up and are essentially tied to your bed, forced to look up as these very tall ghoul-like monsters with metal teeth float over to your bed holding a knife and wearing a giant grin. You can't even scream while they cut into you and rip your heart out while being polite to each other and continuously grinning. Wow, that's a chilling sight. I also love the scene where Olivia pulls the curtains back at night over at Giles' place and that one Gentleman floats right by the window. Very cool.

    I've also got to give props to the wondefully haunting music. It's so good that they even reused some of the themes for when Faith awakes from her coma in "This Year's Girl" (4x15), and a couple other times as well. While giving away all these props, I'd better mention the utterly brilliant overhead scene in the classroom. Instead of getting bored by the exposition needed on the Gentlemen, I find myself hysterical. There's Giles' upside-down placement of the first slide. Giles playing a cassette of Camille Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre during the presentation. Anya's indifference to the entire affair. Xander's thoughts being stuck completely in sex, which causes everyone to think that way as Buffy makes a staking gesture. Buffy's protest of Giles' drawing of her. The fact that I easily understand all this exposition without a word being spoken. Plus more. You guys know why this scene is great, I need not go on further.

    To wrap this review up I'd like to go back to Buffy and Riley. In the middle of the big fight Buffy discovers Riley is one of the commandos that they've been trying to find out more about since the beginning of the season. Riley also discovers something possibly even more shocking. The tiny, quirky, and blond girl he's persuing a relationship with turns out to be much stronger than him. I love Riley's wide-eyed 'WTF' face when he sees Buffy kick one of the henchman guys across the room. All he knows is that there's something huge she's been keeping secret from him as well. The episode ends on their 'conversation' about who each of them are. Now that things are revealed, no one can say anything. I'd also like to point out how happy I am that this conversation is continued directly in the following episode. "Hush" is perfect in all the ways that matter, and is an absolute joy to watch each and every time.moreless
  • Probably best Buffy ever

    At first I thought this episode was going to suck, after watching it I think it's my favorite Buffy episode ever, probably by a good margin.

    Just really well done all around, great writing, acting, music, direction, and editing in this one to make the difficult concept work. They borrow some things from various movies including Dark City, Scanners, Ghost Busters, and others. Scary and hilarious episode at the same time.moreless
  • the gentlemen come to town

    First-time Buffy viewer. It wasn't until I saw the Gentlemen waving pleasantly at each other and playfully wagging their fingers at doors that I came fully on board. I love that those characters can be funny and weird while still being scary.
Charlie Brumbly

Charlie Brumbly


Guest Star

Doug Jones

Doug Jones


Guest Star

Don W. Lewis

Don W. Lewis


Guest Star

Camden Toy

Camden Toy


Recurring Role

Marc Blucas

Marc Blucas

Riley Finn

Recurring Role

Emma Caulfield

Emma Caulfield


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (16)

    • Goof: The newspaper that Giles looks at when his lady friend is drawing the pictures has articles that have no relation at all to their titles. The major headline "Brutal Slaying Shocks Silent Community" is mostly about President Clinton denying the use of drugs (strange choice) and the smaller article about a dead 15-year-old girl actually tells of a 17-year-old boy who barely survived a "near-def" experience.

    • Goof: At 23:27 if you look closely at the bottom of the screen, when the gentlemen come out from behind the bush, for a second or so you can see the white platform they were rolling along on.

    • Goof: Immediately before Buffy and Riley "face off" in the Gentlemen's lair Buffy throws one of the footmen into a stand of metal shelves, which begins to fall over spilling its contents. The very next shot the shelves are upright and undisturbed even though the sound of them falling can still be heard. They remain this way throughout the rest of the episode.

    • We learn that Spike likes to crumble up Weetabix in the blood he drinks.

    • Nitpick: They walk past a guy with a sign that says "Revelations 15:1." That Bible passage says: "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God." This fits with the 7 hearts that are being stolen, yet the doom-sayer doesn't know anything about this. Wouldn't it have made more sense to choose a Bible passage that talks about silence or inability of speech?

    • Goof: Spike wipes the blood off his mouth after Xander gets off of him (after he realizes that Spike didn't kill Anya), but in a shot a few seconds later, the blood is still there.

    • Nitpick: At the end, when they show a shot of outside the campus, you can see Buffy in the bottom left corner of the screen. It is from the first episode of season four when she's outside looking confused (the scene with the colored folders).

    • Nitpick: In the lecture hall scene when Giles is giving his presentation, Buffy is mostly sitting with one leg up on her seat. But during a few camera switches, her leg keeps moving down and then up again. Some of the cuts are long enough to argue that she could be squirming around, but some cuts are too quick for that to be feasible.

    • Nitpick: As the scene with Giles and the Scoobies in the lecture hall starts, Anya can be seen sitting down, empty handed, with no sign of popcorn nearby (and no reason for there to be, as they're clearly just entering the room). A moment later, as the camera cuts back, she's apparently pulled a bag of microwave popcorn out of her skirt.

    • Goof: In the lecture hall scene with Giles and the Scoobies, Buffy holds her message board up to ask how she gets her voice back. When she first holds it up, the marker is in her right hand. After a quick cut away and back, the marker is in its little slot on the message board.

    • Goof: When Riley smashes the bottle near the end of the episode, a chunk of glass lands firmly on top of the box. When he starts to swing at the box, the chunk of glass is gone.

    • Goof: During Giles's presentation, when Xander is writing on his board, he tilts it a bit and we can see the words that have been prewritten.

    • Goof: In the scene where Xander is on the phone with Buffy you can see a cross tattoo on his shoulder they tried badly to cover up.

    • Goof: Before Willow and Tara move the soda dispenser, a close up shows the two gripping hands. When the camera backs up on the two a bit, they grip hands again.

    • Goof: As the Gentlemen fly down the street look at the road in front of them, you can often see the shadows of the wires used to suspend them.

    • Nitpick: When Spike opens the fridge, the cup of blood is full almost to the brim. When he starts to drink he tips it so far that if it were that full, it would have spilled onto him before it even got to his mouth.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Olivia: Sorry I'm late, horror flight.
      Giles: Oh I'm sorry, bad weather?
      Olivia: Baseball movie...

    • Willow: You were there looking for me?
      Tara: I thought maybe we could do a spell - make people talk again. I...I'd seen you in the group, the Wicca group you were... you were different than them. I mean they didn't seem to know...
      Willow: What they were talking about.
      Tara: I think if they saw a Witch they would run the other way.

    • Spike: Like I'd bite you, anyway.
      Xander: Oh, you would.
      Spike: Not bloody likely.
      Xander: I happen to be very biteable, pal. I'm moist and delicious.
      Spike: All right, yeah, fine. You're a nummy treat.
      Xander: And don't you forget it.

    • Forrest: (To Riley) This is the burden we bear, brother. We have a gig that would inevitably cause any girl living to think we are cool upon cool. Yet, we must Clark Kent our way through the dating scene, never to use our unfair advantage. Thank God we're pretty.

    • Anya: This isn't a relationship. You don't need me. All you care about is lots of orgasms.
      Xander: Okay, remember how we talked about private conversations? How they're less private when they're in front of my friends?
      Spike: Oh, we're not your friends. Go on.
      Giles: Please don't.

    • 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.

    • Willow: Man, that was an exciting class, huh?
      Buffy: Oh, yeah - wow.
      Willow: And the last twenty minutes - it was a revelation. Just laid out everything we need to know for the final. I'd hate to have missed that.
      Buffy: Just tell me I didn't snore.
      Willow: Very discreet. Minimal drool.
      Buffy: Oh, yay.

    • Riley: So what have you got going on tonight?
      Buffy: Oh, patrolling.
      Riley: Patrolling?
      Buffy: Uh, petroleum.
      Riley: Petroleum?
      Buffy: Uh-huh.
      Riley: Tonight you have crude oil?
      Buffy: And homework.

    • Riley: So tell me about your dream. As a psych major, I'm qualified to go, "hmmm".
      Buffy: I don't really remember.
      Riley: Well, did I appear at all in this dream?
      Buffy: There might have been a cameo.
      Riley: Is that right?
      Buffy: More like a featured role.
      Riley: Romantic lead?
      Buffy: I'm not saying a word.

    • Spike: (Mimicking Anya) Xander, don't you care about me?
      Xander: Shut up.
      Spike: (Mimicking Anya) We never talk.
      Xander: Shut up.
      Spike: (Mimicking Anya) Xander...
      Xander: Shut up!

    • Little Girl: Can't even shout, Can't even cry,
      The Gentlemen are coming by,
      Lookin' in windows, Knockin' 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.

    • Willow: (after attending a Wicca meeting) Bunch of wanna blessed be's. Nowadays every girl with a henna tattoo and a spice rack thinks she's a sister to the dark ones.

    • 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... but the monster stuff yes.

    • Spike: I'm not having these two shag while I'm tied to a chair three feet away.
      Xander: That's not exactly one of my fantasies either.

  • NOTES (17)

    • Camden Toy, who played one of the Gentlemen in this episode, returned in two other roles later in the series. He played Gnarl in the third episode of season seven. He also played the Turok-Han later in that same season.

    • The scenes of the Gentlemen gliding smoothly through Sunnydale in Hush were achieved by swinging them by wires across distances of over 120 feet using cherrypickers.

    • The promo used for this episode was the same in the USA and Brazil. It was the first time that both countries featured the same promo.

    • This episode is number three in Joss Whedon's list of his top ten favorite episodes according to The Last Sundown featurette in the season seven DVD box set.

    • This is one of Allyson Hannigan's favorite episodes of the Show, according to a recent interview with PopWatch (October 05).

    • The song that Giles plays during his transparency lecture, Danse Macabre, is also the theme song for the UK TV show Jonathan Creek. The connection — Anthony Stewart Head played Adam Krauss in the first episode of this series. Joss stated in a post at the official site's posting board that this was a mere coincidence.

    • Joss stated in an interview at Ultimate TV that he had originally planned for Buffy and Riley to have sex in this episode, while they couldn't speak, but "it became clear that it was too early for that."

    • Giles gets delivery of the Sunnydale Press, the same newspaper we saw in "Bad Girls".

    • Andy Hallett (Lorne from Angel) can be seen in the top left corner of Prof. Walsh's classroom during the opening sequence.

    • The song that the girl sings in Buffy's dream at the start of the episode is sung to the tune of the song "Master of the House" from Les Miserables.

    • Apparently the Gentlemen were inspired by a dream Joss had. Also, the reason they did an episode with almost no speaking was to force themselves to be more creative visually.

    • This episode introduces Amber Benson as Tara. In a chat interview Miss Benson said the scariest thing she has ever seen was during a lunch break where the Gentlemen (still made up and in costume) were eating lunch.

    • Lindsay Crouse (Maggie) previously worked with Amber Benson (Tara) in the 1995 movie Bye, Bye Love, which also starred Eliza Dushku (Faith).

    • The newscaster in this episode is Carlos Amezcua, a real-life co-anchor on KTLA's morning news. The KTLA Weatherman, Mark Kriski, appeared in season 3's "Amends".

    • This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Drama Series.

    • The musical selection played by Giles during his presentation with the overhead projector is "Danse Macabre", written in 1874 by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921). It is one of his most popular compositions, and a piano transcription of it was made by Franz Liszt, as well as a really creepy transcription for organ by Edwin H. Lemare. It was also used as the theme tune to a British TV program called Jonathan Creek, starring Alan Davies and Caroline Quentin. Anthony Stewart Head was in the first episode as magician Adam Krauss. It was intended as a recurring role, but he had to give it up due to Buffy commitments and the part was recast.

    • Approximately half of this episode contained no spoken dialog.

      The total time in which no character spoke (not counting the computer voices and the news broadcaster) is 24 minutes, 37 seconds.


    • The Gentlemen look very much like old-time doctors with their black suits and bags that contain tools like scalpels. Their minions are dressed in straitjackets. Perhaps this is a foreshadowing for "Normal Again", the Season 6 episode with Buffy in a lunatic asylum.

    • Revelations 15:1:
      When Buffy and Willow are first walking through town after the voices are stolen, one of the things they walk by is a group of bible-readers. According to the sign, the verse they read is "Revelations 15:1." Prelude to the Bowl Judgments 15:1 - "Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete."

    • Little Girl: Can't even shout, can't even cry. The Gentlemen are coming by...
      The nursery rhyme sang by the little girl can be compared to (and may even be an homage to) the jumprope song recited by the children in the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies.

    • Wicca group member: We need to work on a theme for the Bacchanal
      A Bacchanal is a celebration usually involving much drinking. It is named for Bacchus, the Roman god of the vine, who is one of the most important gods to roman society.

    • Willow: Bunch of wanna blessed bes. Nowadays every girl with a henna tattoo and a spice rack thinks she's a sister to the dark ones.
      "Blessed be" is a common Wiccan term, basically a wish of goodwill toward someone or something. A henna tattoo is a temporary tattoo done with the natural dye from the leaves of the henna shrub.

    • Forrest: Yet we must Clark Kent our way through the dating scene never to use our unfair advantage.
      Forrest invokes Clark Kent (the public identity of Superman) as an example of a man who would be thought "cool upon cool" if he could reveal his hero identity.