SFs 26 Greatest Tearjerkers (5-2)

5 BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER “The Gift”
Buffy's sacrifice (again)

Buffy had a habit of dying, so you’d think the emotional impact might wane after a while. Not when you’ve got Joss Whedon orchestrating the audience’s heartstrings. Buffy sacrifices herself for her sister, and Spike’s horrified expression says reflects what we all feel. And the bittersweet engraving on the gravestone is guaranteed to open the floodgates: “She saved the world. A lot.”

Blublines: “Dawn, listen to me. Listen I love you. I will always love. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles I… Tell Giles I figured it out. And I’m okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.”

4 FUTURAMA “Jurassic Bark”
Fry’s dog waits (again)

When the first vote came in for this one, we thought it was a joke vote. Then more votes came in, and more and more and more. But come on, this pic alone is enough to have you welling up. It’s Greyfriar's Bobby with a Futurama twist – Fry has to decide whether to give the dog a clone when his fossilised remains are found. But when he finds out that Seymour must have died 12 years after he left, he assumes that the mutt must have forgotten all about him. Instead, we learn in flashback, Seymour waited for him outside the pizzeria where Fry left him for 12 years. Sob.

Blublines: “I waited for you, Bender.”

3 SILENT RUNNING
Duey is left to tend the garden (again)

A robot with a watering can – surely an image from a Disney kiddie film about a mad scientist who's invented a ray gun that turns people into geraniums? It can’t be the final, lip-trembling, eye-misting, duct-troubling scene in an emotionally draining eco-drama. Can it? Sure is. Throughout Silent Running, you’re always more emotionally involved with the robots – Hewey, Duey and Louie – than the slightly deranged ecowarrior Lowell (Bruce Dern). Sure, he sacrifices himself to save the last forest in the Solar system, but it’s Duey we feel sorry for, doomed to an eternity of pruning and Joan Baez wailing over the Tannoy.

Blublines: "You know when I was a kid, I put a note into a bottle and it had my name and address on it. And then I threw the bottle into the ocean. And I never knew if anybody ever found it."

2 BUFFY “The Body”
Anya’s rant

Many simply voted for this episode in its entirety, and you can understand why – for 45 minutes it achingly captures the numbness and shock that engulfs you in the immediate aftermath of a sudden, random death (in this case Buffy’s mum). But time and again voters highlighted Anya’s rant, when the emotionally-challenged demon in her selfish innocence perfectly and painfully vocalises the feeling of desperate helplessness all the other characters are going through, but cannot – yet – even admit to themselves. Few dramas – let alone telefantasy series – have ever achieved such raw emotional intensity.

Blublines: "There's just a body and I don’t understand why she can’t just get back in it… And no-one will explain to me why.”

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