Monday, 9 July 2012
BUFFY 5.6: FAMILY
The final confrontation with Tara’s family
WRITER: Joss Whedon
DIRECTOR: Joss Whedon
WHAT’S THE SITCH?
Tara is preparing to celebrate her 20th birthday when out of the blue her family turns up – Dad, Brother Donny and Cousin Beth. It seems Tara may have been harbouring a dark secret for her family has come to take her home before some great evil inside of her emerges and wreaks havoc. At the same time, Glory discovers that in the previous episode she was fighting a Vampire Slayer. And so she recruits a bunch of nasty demons to go find Buffy and kill her as Glory considers fighting a Vampire Slayer herself to be beneath her. Meanwhile, Buffy has told Giles the truth about Dawn and that she is going to protect her ‘sister’ no matter what. They agree to keep the truth to themselves for the time being. Back to Tara, and afraid that Willow and the gang will see her for what she truly is she casts a spell to hide her inner evil from them. But when Glory’s demons attack the Magic Box the spell backfires with potentially lethal consequences.
WHAT’S THE SITCH BENEATH THE SITCH?
What is family? What is it that makes a family? That’s the main theme here. Is it just blood or is it something more? Joss definitely comes down on the latter. Family is more than just blood. And sometimes blood family can be no family at all, as is shown with Tara’s odious kin. Other themes are the subjugation of women through the excuse of tradition and the use of fear and the suppression of homosexuality as something wrong and evil.
WHO’S GIVING US THE WIGGINS THIS WEEK?
Glory, a bunch of pasty faced demons and the Maclay family.
WHY IT ROCKS
It’s a Joss ‘Written and Directed by…’ episode, so of course it rocks.
Tara. We finally get to know a bit more about Tara who’s been with the show for an entire season but has remained mostly a kinda vague character, as both Buffy and Xander admit to each other here. They like her. They know she’s a witch and that she and Willow are in love…but that’s it.
Amber Benson. As Tara, Amber is sweetness personified. She plays Tara as a quiet, insecure, loving girl who wouldn’t (knowingly) harm a fly…which makes what happens in this episode all the more hard to take. Her mousy demeanour and cute nervous stutter just wanna make you give her a hug. The Willow/Tara love story is arguably the best, sweetest and most meaningful love story the show ever did. And a big part of that is down to Amber.
Buffy and the gang closing ranks around Tara and facing down Tara’s dad. A great moment that gets to the heart of what this show is about and what Joss does best – writing about flawed but good hearted people coming together to create their own close knit family unit.
Willow and Tara’s cute floaty dance at the end.
WHY IT SUCKS
Not so much with the funny. For a Joss episode Family is pretty low on the laughs. And that’s ok because of what it is looking to do. But we do miss quality Joss-isms.
It’s a good, solid episode with a nice strong theme and nice performances. But that’s all it is, which is kinda shocking for a Joss two hander.
Riley continues his self indulgent feeling sorry for himself decline. C’mon, dude, get a grip.
The Scoobies closing ranks around Tara (see clip at top) and the look on Tara's face as she realises. A truly heart warming moment.
DIALOGUE TO DIE FOR
Buffy: Nothing like getting your ass kicked to make your ass hurt.
Buffy: So any breakthrough on the identity of Miss Congeniality?
Giles: Well, I've narrowed it down some.
Buffy (seeing the stacks of books on the table): Your definition of narrow is impressively wide.
Giles (to Buffy and Xander): You're in a magic shop, and you can't think what Tara would like. I think you're both profoundly stupid.
Xander: Well we don't really know what kinds of things witches like. I mean, what are we going to get her, some cheesy crystal ball?
Giles: You bloody well better not; I've got mine already wrapped.
Glory: A Slayer? Oh God, please don't tell me I was fighting a Vampire Slayer! How unbelievably common. If I had friends, and they heard about this...
Mr. Maclay: You are going to do what's right, Tara. Now I am taking you out of here before somebody DOES get killed. The girl belongs with her family; I hope that's clear to the rest of you.
Buffy: It is. You want her, Mr. Maclay, you can go ahead and take her. You just gotta go through me.
Mr. Maclay: This is insane! You people have no right to interfere in Tara's affairs. We are her blood kin. Who the hell are you?
Buffy: We're family
AND ANOTHER THING
In this episode we discover that Tara's last name is Maclay.
By the time of this episode Buffy’s dad has descended in to a true scummy father who’s run off with his secretary to Spain and doesn’t even bother to speak to his children when their mother gets sick. Biological fathers in the Buffyverse do get a raw deal.
Amy Adams. Yep, bitchy Cousin Beth is played by none other than the lovely and talented multiple Oscar nominee Amy Adams.
HOW MANY STAKES?
Family Ties aren’t binding. 3 (out of 5)