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BLOOD TIES (ep #5.13)

Written by: Steven S. DeKnight
Directed by: Michael Gershman
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Clare Kramer as Glory
Charlie Weber as Ben
Troy T. Blendell as Jinx
Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Co-Starring: Justin Gorence as Orlando
Michael Emanuel as Burley Guard
Joe Ochman as Janitor
Paul Bates as Crazie #1
Carl J. Johnson as Crazie #2
Candice Nicole as Young Buffy
Elyssa D. Vito as Young Dawn

Plot Summary

Once again, somebody decided to celebrate Buffy's birthday. This time, Dawn found out that she is the key.

Plot Details

Once again, the characters got the idea that it would be a good idea for Buffy to celebrate her birthday. This is a bit like thinking that the next Defense against the Dark Arts instructor at Hogwarts is what she or he appears to be. Buffy sort of realized that it would not be a good idea, but the others overrode her.

Giles quickly supplied some exposition. Glory and two other gods ruled one of thousands of hell dimensions. It was not clear why she was in Sunnydale. She was in human form, which weakened her. This required her to suck the brains of humans. Xander asked about the key. The others were hurt that Buffy and Giles knew and they did not. Buffy relented and told them what she learned in "No Place Like Home."

Meanwhile, Three Knights of Byzantium were chanting when Jinx and three other Glory minions attacked. The knights killed three of them and were about to finish Jinx off when Glory arrived. She killed two of the Knights and threatened the third, Orlando.

Willow and Tara set up a spell around the Magic Box to create an alarm if Glory stopped by. Dawn wanted to help and was hurt when Willow said no. Dawn entered and noticed Giles hiding a few journals. Dawn speculated that Buffy was upset to have to fight someone prettier, but Buffy denied it.

Meanwhile, Glory was torturing Orlando. He refused to tell her where the key was even if he knew. She figured out that he did not know and decided to suck his brain.

Buffy was in a celebratory mood during her birthday party. Anya envied a dress that Tara gave Buffy. Buffy got weepy over a picture frame decorated with seashells. A bit later, Dawn eavesdropped on Buffy, Joyce, and Giles discussing Dawn. Dawn got upset and started to confront people. She stormed up to her room.

Soon afterward, she snuck out of the house and ran into Spike, who was carrying the damaged box of chocolates from "Triangle." Dawn said that she was planning to steal things from the Magic Box. Spike was very interested and decided that Dawn needed a bodyguard. She claimed that she could take care of herself but invited Spike to tag along.

Spike was a little disappointed to find that Dawn was interested in taking a book rather than cash or jewels. She found out that most people cannot see the key for what it is except for those outside reality. When Spike said that lunatics are outside reality, she remembered being confronted by two lunatics. The book also said that reptilian creatures can see the key, which forced us to rewatch the awful special effects from "Shadow." Spike took his turn reading the journal and found that Dawn was the key.

Buffy was talking about not getting a birthday card from Riley when Dawn came down having cut herself. It became clear to the others that Dawn found out what happened. Buffy decided that it was a family thing—and not the full family from "Family"—so all non-Summerses left.

The next day, Buffy wanted answers for Dawn. Giles wondered how Dawn found out until Anya found cigarette butts in an urn. Buffy confronted Spike, who blamed her for not telling Dawn earlier. Buffy realized that Spike was right.

At the mental ward in the hospital, Ben recognized Orlando as being a Knight of Byzantium. Jinx tried to persuade Ben into cooperating against a common enemy and suggested that Glory might take action against Ben. Ben knew that Glory was powerless against him.

That evening, Dawn overheard Buffy say that Dawn was not real and was not part of the family, but neglected to eavesdrop when Buffy said that she thought Dawn believed that. Dawn responded by wreaking her room and burning her diaries.

Buffy and Joyce heard an alarm. Buffy assumed that it was Willow's spell alerting them to Glory's presence, but Joyce realized that it was the smoke alarm. Buffy was upset at Dawn, but Joyce realized that Dawn disappeared.

Buffy called everyone together, including Spike. Anya stayed at the Magic Box while Willow, Tara, Xander, Giles, Buffy, and Spike split into three teams to search the town.

Dawn wandered over to the hospital and entered the mental ward. The patients reacted to her presence. Orlando said that she was the key. Dawn wanted to know what this meant, but Orlando had nothing positive to say. She ran out and ran into Ben.

Ben got a cup of hot chocolate for Dawn. He thought that Buffy had a fight with Dawn and sympathized. He wished that his sister did not exist sometimes. Dawn went on and said that monks made her to hide her from Glory. Ben knew what this meant and tried to send her away. He then realized that Glory was coming and turned into Glory.

Glory changed out of Ben's scrubs and into a red dress. Unfortunately, her back was turned to the camera. Glory wanted to know what Dawn and Ben were talking about. Glory was most interested in where the key was. Dawn managed to get Glory to give her a bit of information about the key, including the fact that it is very old and neither good nor evil. Eventually, Glory figured out that Dawn was just trying to get information from her.

The characters met up in a cemetery. Buffy decided to check the hospital. They found out that a security guard nearly had his head twisted off, so they guessed that Glory was there. They found Dawn and Glory just as Glory decided to use Dawn to send Buffy a message.

Buffy and Spike fought Glory to little effect. Giles shot her with a small crossbow and Xander tried to beat her with a crowbar to equally little effect. Then Willow and Tara cast a spell on Glory, which teleported her well above Sunnydale. Fortunately, the camera cut away from Glory before she could finish a word that would have gotten the show in trouble with the FCC.

Willow collapsed, but was OK. Buffy assured Dawn that she still had Summers blood. Dawn said something about Ben being there, but did not remember exactly what happened. Buffy wanted to thank him for looking after Dawn.

The Good

I have gushed over Alyson Hannigan, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Amber Benson in previous episodes. For this one, I have to gush about Michelle Trachtenberg. She handled very difficult material very well. Many people may not like Dawn, at least in this part of the show, because she is whiny and bratty. However, many younger siblings her age are whiny and bratty. This reflects well on the actress playing Dawn. Steven S. DeKnight credits Michelle Trachtenberg for getting him a job on the writing staff. I agree, although I also believe that he is a good writer.

The Bad

The floating minion stunts during the teaser really looked like wire work. In fact, the creaking sound effect added to the impression that they were just hanging from wires.

Overall Rank: 41

Action: 6

Glory and her minions battled three Knights of Byzantium.

Buffy and her friends fought Glory in the hospital.

Comedy: 4

Anya was in full comic-relief mode in this episode, particularly in her very clumsy attempts to cover up what she knew about Dawn and in her envying of Buffy's dress.

Drama: 9

Dawn found out that she was the key, leading to much pain and some cutting.

Romance: 0

Character Development: 7

Dawn now knows the secret that others have kept from her. This was quite painful, but she now seems to realize that she is part of the Summers family.

Tara really does not like the idea of getting her brain sucked.

Xander knows that Dawn had a crush on him and was flattered.

Importance: 8

Willow, Xander, Anya, Tara, Spike, Dawn, Ben, Orlando, and a few other crazies now know that Dawn is the key.

Dawn has a new catch phrase.

We now know that Ben involuntarily morphs into Glory, but Dawn seems to have forgotten that.

Most Valuable Player: Willow

Willow gets the MVP for doing the teleportation spell that whisked Glory outside the hospital, saving the others. Tara gets an assist for helping Willow with the spell.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Dawn

Dawn gets this award for learning that she was the key. This might not be a good thing, but she did figure that out.

Goat of the Week: Buffy

There are two candidates. I understand that Dawn learned some very upsetting news. However, it was a really bad idea to let people outside the group know that she was the key. Buffy was the one who withheld this information from Dawn, ensuring that she learn it in the most painful way imaginable. Buffy's failings were more clear in this episode, so she gets the Goat.

Random Commentary

I understand that lockers are usually locked, hence the name locker. However, there is a risk that someone might see a silk dress in Ben's locker and get weird ideas about him.

I suspect that this might have been a short season if Glory morphed back to Ben sometime in her fall to earth at the end of the episode.

Memorable Dialogue

"You make a very pretty little girl." Anya
"Anya, you want to help me with that thing?" Xander
"Xander needs help with his thing!" Anya

"I just think you're freaking out 'cause you have to fight someone prettier than you. That is the case, right?" Dawn
"Glory is evil and powerful and in no way prettier than me." Buffy

"This is extremely suspenseful. I want the presents." Anya

"[Holds a dress that Tara gave Buffy] It's just so lovely! Oh, I wish it was mine. Like you weren't all thinking the same thing." Anya
"I'm fairly certain I wasn't. I've got one just like it." Giles

"Get out, get out, get out, get out!" Dawn

"Just saying, powerful being, big energy gal digging the Xan man. Some guys are just cooler, you know." Xander

"She's not just a blob of energy. She's also a 14-year-old hormone bomb. Which one's screwing her up more right now? Spin the bloody wheel." Spike

"Look, it's blood. It's Summers blood. It's just like mine. Doesn't matter where you came from or how you got here. You are my sister. There's no way you could annoy me so much if you weren't." Buffy

Characters in Peril


Departed Characters Remembered

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Spoiler Questions

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This page was last modified on November 29, 2012