Buffy the Vampire Slayer S05 E19 – For the right person.

Previously: Warren made Spike a Buffy sexy times robot, which led to mass confusion when Buffy went on a quest. Also, Glory beat the living shit out of Spike because he wouldn’t tell her who the Key was.

Tough Love

Sweeney: We begin the episode with an additional journey through Buffy’s grief and Slayer struggles as she is dropping a poetry class. She explains to the professor (and the audience) that she’s dropping all of her classes because she just can’t be in school right now. This scene with an uninitiated person in Buffy’s life obviously emphasizes that Joyce’s death is probably reason #1 for this decision (a second cousin of mine lost her mother at Buffy’s age and she dropped out of school too). That said, I like that this happens immediately after the trip to the desert because it makes it clear that Slayer stuff is a part of it. As Buffy pushes the Slayer expiration date, these are the kinds of hard choices she’s going to have to start making.

Kirsti: As incredibly true as all of this is, I mostly spend the duration of the scene wondering why the hell a poetry professor is using a slide projector in class.

Lorraine: Team Heartless Cow’s party trick is finding ways to suck the feels out of any and all things.

Sweeney: Elsewhere, we get a teeny snippet of additional information on the Ben/Glory weirdness when Ben shows up at the hospital to discover that he’s been fired for not showing up for two weeks. Ben is visibly confused that it has been that long. He’s having a temper tantrum as he empties out his locker  about how Glory’s always fucking his shit up when he magics into her. Womp. Roll credits.

Glory’s in a bubble bath bratting to her Flattery Demons about their failures as they feed her chocolates and mimosas. A good gig if you can get it. She orders them to tell her everything they observed while spying on Buffy so that she can figure out who the key is.

At Dawn’s school, Buffy and Dawn are in the principal’s office talking about Dawn’s non-attendance. This was all news to Buffy and at first she’s upset, but then she calms down and tries to explain to the principal how hard this was on Dawn. The principal basically says that Dawn’s great and also should probably leave the room so that she can properly blame this all on Buffy. Something like that.

At The Magic Box, Anya’s giving a speech about how she’s recently decided that she’s an American and has been reading up on how capitalism is totes the best forever. It’s a line that I can’t hear the same ever since you lot told me that they wrote shit like that deliberately for Emma Caulfield. It’s weird.

K: I’m pretty sure I found this funny the first few times through. But knowing that they wrote shit like that specifically for her makes it grate rather dramatically. That said, I do very much enjoy it that Anya refers to it as “the good old us of A.” Bless. 

Sweeney: Anya goes off to make some old people buy things when Buffy and Dawn enter. Xander awkwardly tries to fill the supportive friend role.

K: I had to laugh when he stopped mid-analogy because the only supportive thing he could think of was a bra. He should have kept going. We all know Buffy desperately needs more of those in her life!

Buffy goes into the training room with Giles to discuss the Dawn situation. Giles says she should put her foot down and she wants him to do it, because he’s way more a grown-up. Giles sits down, glasses off, and gets his A+ Substitute Parent game face on, telling Buffy that she’s Dawn’s family and Dawn needs her to do this now.

Lor: This is great because Buffy never seemingly had a problem being tough on Dawn before. That was a big sister thing, though. This is different. She can’t just be mean to her and watch her run off to Joyce. It’s just Dawn and Buffy.

Sweeney: Absolutely. Buffy is under infinitely more pressure in this new role and, more importantly, she’s still not sure how to handle it.

Buffy emerges to find Xander, Willow, and Anya lying on the ground as a triangle around Dawn. Buffy immediately goes on the attack, telling Dawn to do her homework and not lie to her. Willow adorably tries to explain that they were trying to help Dawn learn, but Buffy is not having it and orders Dawn off to do her homework at home.

Willow tries to calm Buffy down as Dawn gets her stuff, insisting that nobody is more pro-school than Willow. Buffy says that she’s not just stressed, but totally freaked out. Willow suggests going to a world culture fair with her and Tara to de-stress. Buffy says she can’t do that but Willow shouldn’t worry because she’s got a life — she “got Dawn’s life.” Poor Dawny is standing right there through this.

K: While this scene does give me Dawny feels, it also gives me Buffy feels. I’ve seen a friend go through the transition from big sister to surrogate parent, and the inevitable disciplinary debacles that follow. That shit ain’t easy.

Lor: Meanwhile, I wonder at Willow. Between this and the time she pretty much gave Dawn instruction on how to resurrect her mother, she’s been showing some questionable judgement and immaturity. It was not the time nor the place to present a disunited front.

Sweeney: YES. THIS.

Glory is telling her Flattery Demons how impressed she is that the monks added all these great quirks and passions and convincingly human details to the key that has been hiding right under their noses. They march off to collect the still-unnamed-by-her key together as we go to a Not Commercial Break. NGL, I don’t know how anyone could have assumed she guessed right, particularly since she emphasized the “new to the group” theory in the previous episode, and this scene made a clear point of referring to the key only as “her.”

Lor: At this point, I was immediately scared for Anya, mostly because she had that whole pointless American speech, which I thought was meant to highlight how new she was. Le sigh. Being new is hard.

Sweeney: After that Not Commercial Break, we’re in that crazy many-doored dorm room and Willow and Tara are discussing the Buffy/Dawn dramz. Willow wants Buffy to chillax and Tara tries to sympathize with Buffy as a fellow member of the Dead Moms Club. This gets Willow annoyed because she’s sick of the “you can’t know what it’s like,” line. After Tara sweetly urges her to use her words, Willow whines about feeling like a junior partner to Tara, who has been doing all the things longer — magic, being out…having a dead mom. Tara’s surprised Willow feels that way, what with Tara generally being portrayed as the junior partner. My words, not hers. Tara’s actual words are that it sometimes frightens her how powerful Willow has become. Willow is very offended, so Tara has to explain that she worries about how much and how fast Willow is changing. Tara says that she trusts Willow, but she’s worried. Willow insists that this isn’t about the witch thing but the newly-out-lesbian thing, and storms out. I get a few of Willow’s feels, and I want to take her side (particularly because she was totes right about Buffy/Dawn) but Willow was a bit tough to take in this scene.

K: I’m torn on this. I feel like Willow’s “she think I’m going to decide I like boys again” panicky reaction is pretty realistic, especially seeing as the show has spent so much time using magic as a metaphor for lesbianism. But it DID feel a little over-the-top melodramatic. So IDK.

Lor: I didn’t get melodramatic at all. I think they’ve been building to this so subtly now, for many episodes. Tara’s always had these worries, and Willow has been very weird (and like I said, immature) about this loss. Though Tara has come off as a lesser Scooby, she has always seemed more mature to me, especially lately, and that comes across here, and it makes sense that it would cause friction.

Sweeney: I agree entirely that Tara’s the more mature one, which is part of what made this painful because Willow was essentially pouting and saying, “I AM TOO MATURE!” Really, any time that I find it hard to support Willow is painful for me to watch.

We see the Flattery Demons lurking outside the Summers home. Inside, Buffy is continuing to lecture Dawn and lay down overbearing rules. Dawn’s irritated and openly discusses her key-ness as part of her “I DON’T WANNA” argument. I’d milk that shit too if I were 14/old as dirt. Buffy snaps and admits that the principal told her that if Dawn doesn’t go to school, Buffy will be found unfit as a guardian, though she has no idea where Dawn would go. Dawn says that Buffy could have told her (I KNOW, GIRL. THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN SHOUTING TO BUFFY FOR LIKE THE WHOLE EFFING SEASON.) and Buffy’s all, “I just did.” This shit kills me. I think that Buffy kept that a secret in part because she felt like shielding Dawn was her way of playing the grown-up, and that shutting people out emotionally is a problem she’s currently trying to grapple with. That said, it’s also like she’s learned nothing. However she came to be there, Dawn is now Buffy’s sister and each time Buffy fails to open up and trust Dawn, their relationship suffers.

K: Again, I’m torn. Buffy’s apparent lack of emotion over this drove me nuts, especially after their sisterly cry-fest bonding session a couple of episodes ago. But at the same time, being the Slayer means having to remove your emotions from the situation, because being too emotional is what gets you killed. So Buffy bottling up her emotions when the shit hits the fan is par for the course. Again, IDK.

Lor: The reason I find Dawn such a great character so far is that she’s so incredibly difficult to watch. The problem between these two isn’t just that Buffy has difficulty communicating, but that everything needs to be spelled out for Dawn. There is such a big gap between them. I feel like at 14, you should be aware that your guardianship is in jeopardy if your mother has died. She can be such a brat, and it’s amazing.

Sweeney: The tinkly orchestra of sadness swells as we get a montage of the cultural fair, where Tara is sitting alone on the bench. It continues as we cut to Willow sitting sadly at The Magic Box. Tara feels a hand grab hers and looks up to see Glory asking if that seat is taken and the orchestra of feels takes a dramatic, suspenseful turn.

At The Magic Box, Willow is trying to talk to Giles about their feels and Giles continues to Substitute Parent like a boss, assuring Willow that since they fight so rarely, once this one is over, they’ll be better for it. Then he continues to be an all around boss as he opens a door (still speaking) causing a Flattery Demon to fall through and get smashed in the head again by that same door, because Giles is a badass.

K: Can we award all the Sandy Cohen Eyebrows to Giles for this episode? Because he totally needs them. 

Sweeney: They set to the task of interrogating him, but he refuses to talk. Giles sends Willow and Anya for some twine and when their backs are turned we hear a cracking noise and the Flattery Demon yelps that he’ll talk. Willow and Anya turn around and ask what happened but Giles merely says the FD changed his mind.

K: RIPPER HAPPENED. Boo yah, bitches.

Lor: I just love him so much.

Sweeney: Flattery Demon says that he’s just trying to keep watch while Glory goes for the key, and when they say to call Buffy, he says it’s too late as Glory will have found the witch by now. With that, Willow runs out the door, headed for the fair, and tells Giles to call Buffy and check Tara’s room.

Meanwhile, Glory is crushing Tara’s hand and I can’t watch. Have I mentioned how much I hate stuff like this? Crunching noises and blood? NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Glory eventually licks Tara’s blood after she straight up crushes her hand, for bonus NOPE. She spits it out, though, and yells at Tara for lying because apparently Glory can taste in the blood that she is not the key. She tries to get Tara to tell her who the real key is, but Tara won’t speak, so Glory resolves to get with the brain sucking.

After a Not Commercial Break Willow is calling out for Tara and trying to remember a spell. She spots Tara just as Glory is doing the fingers-in-brain thing. People get in Willow’s way and by the time she gets to Tara, Glory is gone and Tara’s getting her crazy mumbling on.


Sweeney: At the hospital, Tara’s hand is all bandaged up and Willow wants to take her home, but the doctor who fired Ben earlier insists that she spend the night in the psych ward for observation. Buffy arrives, mentioning that Dawn is with Spike. She hugs Willow and observes the crazy. No, those aren’t tears you see on my face. You shut your mouth. (L: +1)

Off in some random cave, Dawn is understandably terrified and not buying the, “You’re going to be fine,” mantra, seeing as Spike’s face is still visibly smashed up, even with his super vamp healing. Dawn confesses that what she’s really scared of is herself. Anything that happens to Tara, Spike’s bruises — “that’s all me. I’m like a lightning rod for pain and hurt, and everyone around me suffers and dies. I must be something so horrible to cause so much pain and evil.” LOVE. You are the most heartless of cows ever ever if that didn’t give you some Dawn feels.

K: SRSLY. The leader of Team Heartless Cow has spoken. 

Sweeney: What I especially love about this is that this is happening in a season where Buffy has serious concerns about the potential darkness of what being the Slayer means. Dawn, on the other hand, is something even more mysterious and she’s even more powerless. She has no idea what she is, but sees suffering around her that appears to be happening solely because she exists. Unlike Buffy, her weird mythical status doesn’t even give her a place to channel all of that. Pile on her recently deceased mother and 14-year-old hormones? I just want to hug her.

Lor: Great to note that she spills all of this to Spike, and not to Buffy. Those two have issues sharing with each other.

Sweeney: Spike/Dawn excellence ensues when he tells her that as a vampire, he knows evil, and she isn’t it. When she insists that if she’s not evil she certainly can’t be good, he matter of factly sums up his whole character right now in a lovely little way, “Well, I’m not good, and I’m OK.”

K: I also had a dose of Spike feels over the moment when he reaches out a hand towards her, as if to comfort her, then stops himself when she looks up at him. Poor Spike really can’t stand to see the Summers women hurting. 

Sweeney: At the hospital, Tara is being wheeled off to the psych ward and Willow is having all the feels. Willow is concerned that she won’t be able to sleep without her. Anya adorably offers to let Willow sleep with her. I appreciated this after all the weird political crap she got this episode. Willow storms off, ready to go to battle with Glory, and Buffy manages to stop her, and talk some sense into her. Willow mopes off, wanting to be alone.

Lor: This scene highlighted how underestimated Willow has felt, to me. Buffy tells her she can’t take on Glory because not even she (Buffy) can. Well, here’s news for everyone: Willow has quietly been getting powerful in her own right.

Sweeney: Because of rage and feels and grief, not so much sense was actually taken in. We cut to The Magic Box where Willow is doing a way more intense raid that anything Dawn got up to. She finds a book called “Darkest Magick” which she smashes open with a large weapon that’s also conveniently handy in the restricted section. The pages make with the ominous fluttering.

Back at Glory’s Clueless Mansion, she’s super excited about how tasty Tara’s brain was and how not worried she is because all she has to do is rip through Buffy’s friends until she finds the key. Just then, the place starts shaking and a door bursts open and we see a levitating, black eyed Willow. It reminds me of The Craft. There are loads of special effects that are a long way from S1, culminating in Willow telling Glory that she owes her pain and electrocuting her.

Back in the random cave, Buffy is assuring Dawn that it’s not her fault. When Dawn asks how Willow is doing, Buffy mentions the rage but insists that she explained that it’s no good. Spike, ever the intuitive one, is all, “LOL, you ‘explained’ that she should do nothing? Cute.” When Buffy says it would be like suicide, Spike says that he’d do it. When Dawn says, “Think, Buffy, if Glory had done that to me,” Buffy is off and running.

Elsewhere, Willow’s magic is getting less effective and so are the special effects. Eventually Willow spits on Glory (K: EW), which makes Glory get real murdery, saying that’s what they used to do to witches. Buffy appears just in time to say that they used to bow down to gods. They fight and Buffy and Willow eventually manage to flee, with the help of Willow’s create-a-weird-goo-defense-wall spell.

In Tara’s dorm room, Dawn and Buffy have brought Tara and Willow a picnic of sorts. Tara’s still majorly crazy, but pretty trusting of Willow, who is spoon feeding her.

K: Can we stop and appreciate Amber Benson’s acting for a minute? Because she’s pretty great at selling the crazy.

Sweeney: So, so true.

Dawn takes over so that Willow and Buffy can chat about Willow’s struggle and how she’ll do what she has to do. Buffy says she understands as she strokes Dawn’s hair.

Lor: What was that? Forced into a certain maturity because you have to watch over someone else? Brilliant.

Sweeney: The scene is interrupted by Glory ripping the wall open, saying she told them this wasn’t over. We get another Restless callback as Tara cries that it’s cracking. Then she looks up at Dawn at marvels at the beautiful green light (DAISY!) and a series of close up reaction shots assures us that Glory is up to speed and now knows that Dawn is the key. It’s the end of E19, so, like, it’s about that time.

I always love these later episodes. Just when you question how much more heart-stomping the show can do to you, Whedon goes and sucks Tara’s brain out and gives Dawn another round of existential crisis feels. So many lovely, lovely moments in this episode. I will say that Glory is starting to wear on me a little. I like her shtick but it’s not as well-rounded as The Mayor’s. There are so many other huge things happening this season, that Glory has ended up a bit more hollow as a character. I enjoyed this episode a lot, though. This is my last episode before the finale, so we’re in the season 5 home stretch now.

K: This episode, for me, is the point where a lot of growing up happens for the characters. There are real responsibilities, and acknowledgement that life goes on after a tragedy, and it’s really freaking hard to return to normality. And yeah. I’m kind of ready to be done with Glory now. 

Lor: This was a fantastic, heart wrenching episode for a first time, unspoiled viewer. TARA! I had no idea, and I didn’t see it coming, and she will get her brain back right, guys?

There was a lot of great character development here, as Willow’s situation mirrors Buffy’s, and is really used to further the whole, “maturity through tragedy” theme this season has developed. Plus, Willow shows off just what her capacity for the darkest of magicks is. I’m with Tara– it’s frightening. At the same time, Willow’s leaving behind the role of junior partner, and putting herself on equal footing with Buffy herself.

Sweeney: I’d also note that the power is clouding her judgment. This episode it was primarily the grief clouding her judgment, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Willow make questionable decisions where magic is concerned. It was the dramatic confirmation that Willow has, indeed, developed frightening power, but certainly not the first questionable decision.

Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy decides to leave Sunnydale, with Spike and Dawn in a Winnebago. True story in S05 E20 – Spiral.


Sweeney (all posts)

I collect elaborate false eyelashes, panda gifs, and passport stamps. I spend too much time on YouTube. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle.

Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

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  • Clément Polge

    Miscommunication is something I usually really don’t like in this show, but in this case I understand, both for Buffy and Dawn.

    Buffy just had a bomb dropper on her literally hours ago, so I understand she needed time to process, but she told Dawn the very evening of the day she learned. You could say that the argument triggered it, but we know that if Buffy doesn’t want to say something, she won’t, argument or not. It feels to me as if she intended to tell Dawn all along, but she was a bit lost as to “how”. Hence her line of “I’m telling you now”

    For Dawn, she couldn’t go to Buffy, or any of the scoobies for that matter, because they’re her friends, so they would give her words of reassurance, kind of like having a friend asking you if they’re ugly, you wouldn’t say “of course, have you SEEN your face ?”. Spike, as an outsider, was really the best person for the sort of honesty she was looking for. Plus that awesome “I’m evil, and I’m ok” line.

    Also, because of your recaps I’m starting to warm up to Dawn. I think I always saw the crying and whining, and just never really cared about the psychology behind it, because she really makes me cringe. But now I feel like an insensitive ass. THANK YOU SNARK SQUAD. I’m gonna go watch The Body to prove that I still have feels.

    • They truly seem to work in completely different ways. Buffy needs to not say any of the things and Dawn needs to hear all of the things. That’s family for you sometimes, though.

      And you are right about the timeline. She really did wait until the moment when they were along to tell her and it wasn’t all that long after she learned. The only stop she made was to Giles to seek advice on how to handle it.

      SUCCESS! Like I said, she’s tough to watch. Most of the time I kind of want to Hanna-slap her a little. But she has her reasons.

      Anytime we can make you feel like insensitive ass, you let us know. We’ll be here for you.

    • Melodie Hatley

      I have to say I’m warming up to Dawn because of the recaps too. I just remember watching the beginning of the fifth season and instantly hating her. It really did spoil my enjoyment of season 5 for me. Maybe time and distance have solved part of that, but I do think with the knowledge that Dawn was originally written for a younger part, and the recaps, I’m finally “ok” with Dawn in season 5. Still my worst hated season, though it might be tied with the last now for last place.

      • LOLOL. S5 is my second favorite season. Then it’s either 2 or 6. I think 2>6 because there are some choices made in 6 that I just can’t abide. So it’s 3-5-2-6. Then probably 1, followed by 7, and a million lightyears down we find S4…

      • I’m so torn, and I was so surprised to find that S5 is at the top of my list. Seriously, after S4, I didn’t have faith for the future of the series. But I think S5 is just so fantastic, and emotional, and real and well played. I still give S2 preference of S3. So maybe my list so far is S2, S5, S3, S1, S4. In hindsight, and once I’ve finished/digesting this season, it may very well end up first.

        • Melodie Hatley

          S2 or S3 are my favorites–they are tied for number one, but I loved both of them so much. I keep wanting to say the Mayor tips S3 over the edge, but then Angelus was sooooo evil and awesome and the introduction to Spike & Dru. S6 is next. Then I think it’s S4, S1, S7, then S5. I just hated Glory and Dawn that much that even with some really awesome episodes, S5 is on the bottom of my list. It’s hard to decide, and sometimes it depends on what time of day it is, what time of year, if I’ve had ice cream….

  • behind blueiz

    I agree that Glory is a “hollow” character, but I think that’s the point. She doesn’t have depth beyond ‘It’s all about me’ deal and everybody else is only there for her bidding and entertainment.

    She’s very shallow and all consuming, kinda like Marsha Brady without the bell-bottoms and the incestuous lusting for her half-brother.

    • I meant to write this in the recap and, I don’t know, forgot. I think the thing that’s wrong with Glory as the main villain is that she shows up so sporadically throughout the season. Here is this god, who can more than take on Buffy and she sits idly by for so long that towards the end, it’s all hot air. Not only is is vapid, but she’s also not being a very good villain. Here story line seems to conveniently pause while Buffy deals with life.

      That’s part of the reason I enjoyed this episode is because we FINALLY got somewhere.

      • behind blueiz

        There are reasons why Glory is all taking her “lopsided”, sweet ass time.

        For one, she’s a god and believes she can do whatever she wants and nobody will stop her. And so far, this has been the case. Nobody–Ben, Buffy, Willow, the Monks–have even been more than a slight inconvenience.

        The second reason will come out, so I’m not going to be all spoilery.

        • I’m excited to see what this reason is, because from watching what I’ve seen so far, that seems like a conflicting notion to her whole, “I’m running out of time, Ben is getting stronger, I’m falling apart in a human body,” spiel.

          I do get that she’s overconfident and rightfully so, but it doesn’t always come across as the best TV when your villain is too preoccupied to act. I think that’s a bit where her story line has suffered.

          Of course, I haven’t seen anything ahead of this episode yet, so we’ll see how it goes. 🙂

          • Clément Polge

            I don’t remember this reason either, but that’s also my problem with Glory, she’s so powerful, and yet so… Absent. She could just kidnap Buffy and spend all those months torturing her, and Giles, and Dawn, and whoever she wants.

            That’s why I think this story should maybe have been stretched a bit more, like having her minions come first, and locate the key in Sunnydale, with some Ominous Omen of Doom as to her arrival or something ? So Glory arrives a bit later and act a bit more quickly, instead of just taking bath drinking mimosas (which is still a valid occupation)

          • Jojo

            This arc has serious contrivance issues – the largest one being “Oh, Glory’s key is Dawn? Here are three plane tickets to England – we’ll stay together at my place in Bath.” “Oh, thank you Giles!” End of problem. The contrivances are a problem because it makes you kinda question all the characters in ways that you are not intended to. And they all see a bit dim.

          • Clément Polge

            Yeah but I can headcanon that : we know that Glory’s been able to locate the key to Sunnydale, so maybe if Buffy and Dawn were to get on a plane and suddenly the key’s somewhere else, Glory would be able to add 2 and 2. Going business as usual is probably Buffy’s best way to cover for Dawn.

            Glory’s lack of involvement is hard to make sense of on the other hand, though.

          • Jojo

            Oh, I’m figuring about episode 5, when Buffy first learned about Dawn because Glory certainly didn’t know then. Maybe when they found out what the key was for – or just when they found out a hellgod was interested. Either way, that would have made sense – take the key (which Glory has not yet identified) away from Sunnydale. It isn’t until fairly far along that Glory even realizes the key is human,

          • JEL

            The usual explanation for Glory’s absence is that for a while Ben was dominant. And now Glory has managed to be present more. There are occasional things said to support this including the fact that only now has Glory been in charge for a long enough period to get Ben fired.

            I agree it makes her a slightly weaker villain than some others.

          • The whole Glory was in charge for two weeks threw me, though, because I sweat we heard her say Ben was getting stronger and stronger and we weren’t shown any reason why this stopped being true.

            I think the fact that they made her strong played against them. What is she tempered by if Buffy can barely put a chink in her armor? Well, mostly lack of knowledge, which doesn’t play particularly well across the episodes. So, really, Glory doesn’t just eat everyone because of lack of knowledge she doesn’t work too hard to correct and contrivance. All IMHO, of course.

            It’s a shame because she was really fun at first!

  • geff

    I really enjoyed your analysis (and snark) of what to me is not a very good episode. I get and appreciate everything they were trying to do with this one but I don’t really connect to all the feels, the emotions come off a bit false (then again I didn’t rewatch it before reading this so maybe I’d feel differently about it now, who knows). Plus I’m not a big fan of Glory. Still, like I said, I love what you all had to say about it, especially about Willow because you really are starting to see a different side of her with everything that’s happened this season. It still feels true to her character, though. Even complaining that she can’t understand what Buffy is going through because she hasn’t lost a parent while Tara has reminds me of S3 where she resents and is jealous of Faith and Buffy’s Slayer relationship (the whole ‘you’re acting like I can’t understand because I can’t kill things with my bare hands’ thing). Willow wants to be on the same page as her friends, she wants to be in the ‘in’ crowd in that sense, and becoming more powerful has just exacerbated that.

    • Man, I love this stuff! I mean, I just enjoyed the episode so much, I find it so interesting that you didn’t! I can admit that the pacing in this one was a bit slow, but I was so involved in all the character stuff going on, I didn’t mind.

      Amazing parallel!!! A+ to the writers here. The power thing is a good point, because Willow likes to be an equal or above. This goes from everything from being able to “understand” a situation to the whole magics thing. Our little Willow has come so far.

  • Democracy Diva

    BRB, sobbing my fucking face off over the “I’m going to take care of her” gifset.

    I don’t really have more words for the neverending rush of feels that these last few episodes have given us, but your recaps have been even better than their usual awesomeness as you guys tackle these impossibly emotional, hard-to-snark issues. 1430s for everyone.

    • Jojo


    • HE KEEPS DOING THIS TO MY FEELS. That part was rough, man.

      Thank you! I’m going to laminate this 1430 and keep it by my bed. <3

  • SuzyLee

    That moment where Tara turns to Glory and just shakes her head in refusal to give up Dawn is never not incredible to me, when you consider how much pain she must be in and how frightened she must be right then and without the aid superpowers/healing to even begin to help her resist! That was absolutely the moment in my mind that cemented Tara as a favorite character of mine, she is such a perfect example of how being a strong person goes way beyond the physical.
    Also Spike reaching out to stroke Dawnie’s hair kills me every single time.
    Excellent recap as ever, especially the bits at the end about the growing signs of Willow’s frightening power problems, hit the nail right on the head.

    • MaireAilbhe

      OMG, I am SO with you on this. I mean, yeah, okay, my heart was captured by Tara immediately during “Hush,” but so many things about her in this episode just really rooted that to the core of the earth. Or, to whatever layer of the earth won’t incinerate those roots. So many feels. And so many feels for Spike in this season, particularly these later episodes.

  • Anagnorisis

    Ok, so I’m going to be the evil one and say that now that Tara finally grows a pair (standing up to Willow, refusing to tell Glory the truth)… she gets brain sucked, uggg.
    But I do love Willow reaction because of reasons and how it helps to develop the parallels to Buffy and Dawn situation.
    I forgot how many things happened in this episode, in the end I was expecting everybody to just relax and rest for a while but suddenly Glory appears and corners everybody and now she knows and what re they going to do?
    Dawn!! I understand why people can be annoyed by her and I like what you all said about this character. I do like her, a lot. You know, for being a late addition to the cast and the universe it’s a surprisingly well built character.

  • darkalter2000

    Willow is right. Bitch gotta pay. STAY AWAY FROM TARA! All my rage!
    The first time I watched this scene, where Glory eats the cohesive energy of Tara’s mind out of her head, it fucking killed me. I was trying to push Glory away with my mind. I love Tara. She is easily one of my favorite characters, and suddenly she is insane? Do not Want! I was sort of ok with Glory until she touched Tara, after that it was forever war.

    • Clément Polge

      Whereas Faith going after Angel ? You go girl ! Adam going after Riley ? Please, kill him. And make sure he’s dead for good.

      Glory going after Tara ? BACK AWAY BITCH. BACK AWAY NOW.

  • Jojo

    I think it’s kind of important that any newbie knows that these last few episodes were the finale of the show. It had already been cancelled and this was Joss Whedon’s wrap up. So as you watch these final episodes keep that in mind. (Yes, it was picked up by another network – but this is the original finale)

    Glory annoys the crap out of me – so I am with you on the hollow. I know I liked her initially because I was told that I did, but I really have loathed her this rewatch. It’s a clever way to introduce the season big bad but she never develops beyond that first image – an annoying entitled bitch (which is a trope that drives me crazy anyway).

    Yeah, Willow is seriously getting some power and not afraid to use it. And I can understand the whole “wait, you may be my BFF but I think I am tired of you being the leader in everything cuz I do have my own life and my own lover” thing. It is a forced dynamic at this age, and I think that’s part of the problem. Life is no longer quite that simple – everyone has significant others who did not sign on to the scooby code. Even Buffy does – and it is Dawn and Spike who make Buffy realize that she is no longer the center and what she says does not always go.

    Spike and Dawn are – as always – perfect together. He doesn’t have the preconceptions the others have about children so he’s so willing to hear her. And I do love the “uh-huh!…so you’re saying a mightily pissed off witch….until you what? Explained?” Takes me back to the argument about the Chumash – “You annihilated his people – what can you possibly say?”

    • Clément Polge

      Is there any reliable source about that “original series finale” though ? Because I’ve read several fans mention it, but I honestly can’t find any official mention. And I remember reading quite the opposite : that Buffy was always supposed to endure in some shape or form (like the comics).

      Reading Wikipedia’s article, they seem to mention a channel switch too, rather than a “cancellation and then pickup by”.

      So I’ll actually say the opposite : this should be seen as a season 5 off a show that never wants to stop.

      • Jojo

        **As far as I remember it was halfway through season 5, Joss started asking
        the guy in charge of if they would get another season, and the ratings
        for season 4 weren’t great, but season 5 was doing better, but the guy
        said no there wouldn’t be another season. Joss wanted to know so he could wrap up the season or finish it as planned. Then they finished people were mad, ratings were actually OK for season 5.**

        This is from one of the Buffy boards at the time. It was kinda hard to find anything more official without spoilers. I wasn’t even a fan and I do recall the big upset when WB started advertising “The Series Finale” of Buffy. But UPN did pick it up during season 5 so fans knew it wasn’t the finale. However, I do think this should all be known in watching season 5.

      • JEL

        As someone who watched the show when it first aired (and who wasn’t part of the Internet community at the time ) I can confirm that WB cancelled the show and there was a real chance that season 5 was going to be it. However by the time that the season ended we all knew that UPN had picked up the show. This was all well covered in the media at the time (e.g. TV Guide). WB calling it the series finale was a bit of a snub to the UPN. So Lor watching the end of season 5 knowing that there will be a season 6 is in the exact same position as those of us watching back then. I don’t know exactly when in the process of putting together the episodes that they knew that the series was picked up by UPN, but there are numerous mentions on the web on how some things were changed in the season finale once Josh knew it wasn’t the end. So I would say you are both partially right. This started off as a series finale but was tweaked to just be a season finale.

        If you want to see some more discussion of this see (spoilers to season 7) http://buffy.wikia.com/wiki/The_Gift.

        The comics didn’t start up until several years after the show ended and were not planned for at the time that it ended. Josh has made the comment more than once that it wasn’t until a few years had passed that he realized that he had more stories he wanted to do with the character (and that it was partly Scott asking him that made him realize it).

    • Petra47

      I agree that in a lot of ways the Season 5 finale is a great series wrap-up and that a lot of growth in these lead up episodes are Whedon tying up his loose ends as best he could. As much as I enjoy seasons 6 and 7, part of me think the end of season 5 would have been the better way to go out.

      • Jojo

        I’ve read others who say that. I’m on the other end of the spectrum – I like how each season gives birth to the next one all the way through. But other than that we must not spoiler Lor. so we can take it an episode at a time.

    • Petra47

      And the Spike/Dawn scenes really are a product of James Marster’s “Big Block of Concrete” factor. There really is no one that man doesn’t have chemistry with.

      • Jojo

        Too true – though to be fair, the writer could not have done a more trite and overly dramatic monologue. Michelle couldn’t sell it at all – she just went very generic on her reading but there are a few other cast members who could not have been able to sell it either (at least not unless they were with Marsters – he really can bring a scene up just by being on screen!)

  • Danna

    I loved this review. It was very thoughtful with just the right amount of snark. I can see where sometimes it’s difficult to be overly funny when the show has taken such a serious turn. But not to worry. There will be plenty of snarkable material in future episodes!

    Just one comment about Dawn: If she seems to be missing a clue here and there, maybe it’s the monks that should be blamed. The made her. Maybe they accidentally put a 12-year-old in a 14-year-old body.

    • Thank you! <3 And you are right, this stuff has gotten heavy. I love that we get the chance to step back and analyze things, but still abuse the word creepy, say things like "boo yah bitches" and generously deal in gifs. This series is so fantastic for recapping. AND BRING ON THE SNARKABLE MATERIAL.

      LOL. I don't really blame Dawn for being clueless. Lord knows I've known a person or 20 like her in my life. They are frustrating, and I think Dawn is frustrating, but she's great to watch and talk about. The Monks should've done their research!

  • SonicRulez

    Willow is not at her best in this episode. In fact, there have been a few episodes this season that made me look at her sideways. It’s pretty great set-up for what goes on in Season 6. It’s also a neat reminder that Willow represents Buffy’s spirit and not her heart. Everyone’s spirit has led them astray at one point or another.

    I understand the parallel, but it’s still just a liiiiiiiiiittle weird for me when Willow says “She’s my girl” romantically and Buffy’s all “I get it” towards Dawn. I guess this is my application for a spot on THC?