Drinks Taken: 25
Vamps Dusted: 0
Follow the whole rewatch here!
Last week, Buffy tarried with a troll, handed the Watcher’s Council back their dignity and sent them packing. This week is all about the Big Reveals. Secrets are coming to light, and they aren’t making anyone happy.
The Buffy Season Five Drinking Game Rules
Drink once every time:
A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Willow and/or Tara gets witchy with it
Riley is a drag
Things get funcomfortable between Anya and Xander
Dawn is annoying
Anya loves money
Spike has zero chill around Buffy
The Magic Box has customers
Drink twice every time:
Giles drinks tea
There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house
There’s a call back to previous season shenanigans
Someone uses a payphone
Glory sucks someone’s brain
Now let’s get to it!
5.13 “Blood Ties”
After last week’s revelation that Glory is a God, the Scooby Gang sit around the Magic Box and go over what they know about her: she’s from an undisclosed demon dimension, immortal, and pretty much invulnerable despite being stuck in a human body, which also makes her a little insane in the membrane. It’s all adding up to an impossible boss fight. Xander sums it up perfectly: “And the fun just keeps on leaving.”
Xander also suggests they focus on finding the Key, since it’s what Glory most wants. Everyone latches on to this very reasonable plan, even as Buffy tries to redirect their interest. Finally, she announces she and Giles already know where the Key is. Xander and Willow feel personally affronted that Buffy didn’t tell them, even if she was keeping quiet for their protection. So Buffy finally shares the truth about Dawn’s creation.
Meanwhile, Glory and her minions decimate whatever Knights of Byzantium are still hanging around Sunnydale. She captures the one Buffy let live and takes him back to her apartment for a little light torture followed by some brain-sucking.
Remember part of the reason Buffy didn’t want to tell anyone but Giles about Dawn being a formless ball of energy was because she didn’t want them to act differently around Dawn? Turns out, that was a completely realistic assumption. As Dawn makes her rounds at the Magic Box the next day, everyone is SUPER weird around her. “You make a very pretty little girl!” Anya says maniacally. *facepalm* Dawn spots Giles’ journal, but he hides it before she can see anything good. She asks Buffy about Glory and pouts when no one wants to share their research. “She didn’t look that tough to me,” she declares with all the bravado of a misguided fourteen-year-old.
Goodbye, teen years; it’s Buffy’s twentieth birthday! (Will I get to recap all the birthdays this season? Time will tell.) Buffy’s having a low-key party at the Summers’ residence replete with balloons and presents. Dawn’s handmade seashell picture frame, featuring a picture of her and Buffy at the beach in San Diego where they handpicked the shells, has everyone making this face:
Giles, Buffy, and Joyce stand around in the kitchen contemplating if Dawn’s inherent existence is dangerous, which seems like a very public place and time to be having this debate without even lowering your voices, but what do I know? Buffy catches Dawn trying to eavesdrop outside the doorway, which…duh. There are NO DOORS on your kitchen openings. Dawn scuttles back to the living room, but the vibe in there is just as strained.
Dawn runs off to her room so she won’t “accidentally get exposed to, like, words” but in actuality she is sneaking out to the Magic Box. She runs into Spike, once again lurking outside Buffy’s house, but this time with a squished box of chocolates. Dawn mocks Spike for bringing Buffy a present she would never accept from him. Spike zeroes in on the fact that Buffy wouldn’t be happy with Dawn sneaking out to the Magic Box alone, with all sorts of scary things between there and here.
We know who you’re really doing this for, Spike.
Dawn finds Giles’ hidden notebook and reads about how only those people outside reality can see the Key’s true nature, and she has a flashback to all those crazy people calling her an empty vessel. Spike takes the book from her and continues reading, casually revealing Dawn’s origin story. Dawn is devastated. This moment is also the first instance we hear Spike call Dawn by his amusing nickname for her:
As much as I dislike Spuffy, I do like Dawn and Spike’s friendship over the seasons, mainly because he doesn’t coddle her. It brings out a sassier side of Dawn to combat her tendency to whine.
Dawn makes it home and takes a butcher knife to her arm to declare she knows the truth in a VERY dramatic fashion. MT gives us some good tears and voice warbles here, and I feel quite bad for Dawn. Joyce and Buffy try their best at damage control, but it’s not Buffy at her most persuasive, and Joyce is kinda useless, so Dawn throws them out of her room.
Buffy learns that Spike accompanied Dawn to the Magic Box and she goes to his crypt to get all medieval on his ass. She’s angry that Dawn found out the way she did, but this is one time with Spike where Buffy is definitely in the wrong, and I’m okay with him calling her out. She’s really just mad at herself but won’t admit it.
The next night, Dawn’s eavesdropping again and overhears Buffy telling Joyce that Dawn isn’t their family or even real, but Dawn’s taking it completely out of context. She oh-so-maturely goes back to her room to trash it, set fire to her journals, and run off into the night.
Everyone splits up to look for Dawn, who has gone to the psych ward. She wants to learn more about herself, but gets freaked out by the gibberish-spouting Knight. Ben finds her and gives her hot chocolate and comfort. (He has been talking with Glory’s minions again, who want him to do stuff for her, but Ben says Glory can’t hurt him and he refuses.)
Dawn rants and way too casually reveals to this practical stranger that she’s the Key, and Ben freaks the eff out hearing this. He frantically tells her Glory is coming and will hurt Dawn if she stays there, so she needs to run. Of course, Dawn DOESN’T run because she’s trapped in the world’s stupidest plot device, OMG (it was a literal “yelling at my TV” moment). And then Ben transforms into Glory!
Glory, thankfully, isn’t privy to Ben’s thoughts or experiences, so she holds Dawn hostage merely because she recognizes Dawn as the Slayer’s sister. Dawn slyly attempts to engage Glory in a fact-finding session vis a vis the Key, which, unsurprisingly, starts to bore Glory after a spell. Buffy arrives in time to prevent Glory from slurping out Dawn’s brain, and there’s an all-out brawl. Willow and Tara save the day by doing a teleportation spell that poofs Glory away, but it does give Willow wicked headaches and a nosebleed.
Buffy tells Dawn, unequivocally, that she is her sister: she has Summers’ blood in her, and to prove it, Buffy smooshes their bloodied hands together. A bit dramatic and unsanitary, but it works. She also tells Dawn that no one but her real sister can annoy her that much (this line is very similar to the one she uses on Giles from last year’s Buffy birthday episode, about how she recognized him in demon form). Dawn finally believes her, and the two share a hug.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Giles For Life
Willow and Tara get Buffy a pretty dress for her birthday present—”Less killy, more frilly!”—and Anya covets it, badly:
Anya, grabbing the dress and squeezing it: “It’s just so lovely! I wish it was mine. *everyone stares at her* Like you weren’t all thinking the same thing.”
Giles: “I’m fairly certain I wasn’t. *whispers to Xander* I’ve got one just like it.”
As Dawn tries to pump Glory for Key information, Glory grows suspicious:
Glory: “I smell a fox in my henhouse. Is that why you’ve been playing sugar and spice with Uncle Ben, trying to get a peek at Glory’s unmentionables?”
Dawn: “No, I—”
Glory: “Shh! I kinda want to hear ME talking right now. Me talking!”
Remember This, Won’t You?
Dawn goes to tell Buffy something about Ben, but she literally can’t remember that he transformed into Glory. This will become important later…
As Xander and Giles go off looking for Dawn, Xander gets stuck on a REALLY important (to him only) fact:
Xander: “You know, uh, [Dawn] kinda has a crush on me.”
Giles: “Your point being?”
Xander: “Oh, nothing. Just saying, powerful being. Big energy gal, digging the Xan-man. Some guys are just cooler, you know?”
Giiles: *immediately walks away*
As a non-Spuffy enthusiast, I’m probably the worst person out in our rotation to be recapping this episode. Or maybe the best? I’ll let you, gentle reader, be the judge!
The Bronze has reopened after it was trolled, and the Scoobs are taking full advantage of a drama-free night. Buffy is being a pal saving seats while everyone else dances, so Spike takes this opportunity to chat her up. He’s affable and conversational, so Buffy is immediately weirded out and bluntly asks why he’s talking to her before asking him to leave.
When taken at face value, her reactions to Spike throughout this episode can border on harsh and rude, where even I feel a little bad for him because, hey, Spike’s trying, right? But I do feel like it we need a reminder that super recently he was actively working with her enemy to destroy her friendships, not to mention all those times he’s tried to actively kill her and committed some light torture of her friends and family. Buffy owes him exactly nothing, neither a second chance or her politeness, even when he gives her kicked-puppy-dog eyes and storms off. I know this is a show; it’s only fantasy but…Spike’s behavior mimics so many (unfortunately) REAL men’s disturbing and abusive attitudes women are often conditioned to forgive or excuse, so I feel it must be stated for the record: everything Spike does in this episode? SO NOT OKAY.
Did you know Sunnydale has an old-timey rail station in town? A train pulls up and a station employee gets on to announce the stop, but all he finds are bloody bodies and his own untimely death. The camera pans to the overhead bin, where we see a blindfolded dolly. You know who that means!
Dawn decides to stop by Spike’s crypt, but he tells Dawn she to skedaddle because she’s a child and he has evil things to do. Of course this is the wrong thing to say to Dawn, who hotly replies she isn’t a child, or even human at all, at least she didn’t start off that way. Spike says he started human, but who cares, because it doesn’t matter where you came from. Dawn acts like he said something super deep and appreciates that he talks to her like an adult.
Yep, girl’s got it bad.
Buffy goes searching for Dawn, who never went home after school, and finds her listening raptly to Spike’s story about a time he murdered a whole family like it was a child’s ghost story. She drags Dawn out and lectures her about how Spike isn’t cool, he’s icky, and she catches on to Dawn’s crush. They argue about loving evil dead things, and Dawn conflates Spike’s chip with Angel’s soul, which, sorry, no. Buffy is totally right but she never seems to articulate her arguments well around Dawn, often lapsing into yelling and exasperated exclamations, which is so true to life. Dawn tells Buffy her crush doesn’t matter anyway, because of Spike only has eyes for Buffy, and the revelation breaks Buffy’s brain:
Leave it to the teenager to have all the goss.
The next day after a failed clue-hunt on the train with Xander, Buffy comes home to find Joyce, Dawn, and Spike yukking it up in the kitchen. Spike’s there because he has a bead on two vamps who may have done the train job. So they wait in Spike’s car, casing the joint, and Spike is all super casual and chill, singing to himself and offering Buffy a nip of his flask. Buffy is clearly tense and on edge, unsure how to handle this new side of Spike. The vamps return to their lair but after Buffy and Spike confront them it’s clear they’ve been living there for a while and not the new-to-town murderer. Buffy is pissed: “What IS this? The late night stake out, the bogus suspects. The FLASK. Is this a DATE?”
Buffy is nothing but disgusted while Spike tries to persuade her he’s changed, he can give up evil for her because her love can make him good. He starts to say those three little words, but Buffy refuses to hear them. “We have to talk about this!” Spike tells her as he stops her from leaving, but Buffy cuts him off, saying there IS no “we”, and Spike is crushed.
He goes home to lick his wounds and finds Druscilla. She tells him the pain the chip causes him is just psychosomatic; he can just will it to stop and get back to killing with her. Spike, fueled by rejection and yes, still actually soulless and thus evil, seems swayed. Harmony—remember her?—comes home and tells Druscilla to take a hike, that he’s found a new woman. Spike grabs Harmony by the throat and tells her to get packing before tossing her across the room. Reason bajillion-and-one why he’s a horrible boyfriend.
Buffy goes to Spike’s crypt after Joyce and Willow’s prompting to make sure that her talk with Spike REALLY got through to him. She finds his serial killer photo shrine and mannequin with her blue cashmere sweater she accused Dawn of stealing, and is seriously wigged out. She tries to leave, but Spike and Dru return from vamping at The Bronze. Dru knocks her out using a cattle prod, but then oh snap, Spike uses the prod on DRU.
When Buffy wakes up, both she and Dru are tied up. Spike tells Buffy she MUST feel something for him. Buffy thinks you can’t love without a soul, though Dru counters that they can, but are we supposed to believe the love between her and Spike was healthy and pure? It was twisted and capricious, and if we’re going by Biblical definitions, that ain’t it. Spike says he’ll prove his love, and holds a stake to Dru’s heart. He’ll kill the former love of his life, but if Buffy doesn’t give him a crumb, a hint that she feels anything towards him, he’ll untie Dru and let her eat Buffy instead. So an ultimatum ending with a death threat. Cool cool cool cool.
I’m sad for this version of Buffy as season six Buffy goes against everything season five Buffy believed in.
Spike pitches a full-out tantrum when he doesn’t get his way, taking none of the blame for things going wrong, and threatens to murder them both. Harmony appears like an avenging angel and shoots him with a crossbow. They fight as Dru frees herself and attacks Buffy, who’s stuck in her chains. Spike throws Dru aside and frees Buffy, which is the last straw for Dru, putting Spike beyond redemption for her, so she leaves. Harmony makes a slightly less graceful exit (goodbye, Harm! This is the last we’ll see of her in this show, though she pops back up in Angel), and Buffy gives Spike a much-needed punch in the face on her way out.
Spike proves that once again he supremely DOESN’T GET IT as he runs after Buffy and tells her they just had a silly little fight, and this doesn’t change anything. But Buffy has had enough: “It changes EVERYTHING, Spike. I want you out. I want you out of this town, I want you off this PLANET.” Spike completely blows this off like the stalker he’s becoming, telling her they have something real and like it or not, she can’t just shut him out, then:
Oh, but she can.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Bloody Good Snark
Buffy tells Xander about Spike’s crush on her while walking through the murder train, and as she’s upset by Xander’s delight over the news, we’re treated to this perfectly timed moment as she sits in a very bad seat:
Buffy, about Spike’s crush: “It’s creepy.”
Joyce: “I’m relieved you’re home. Cause, to be honest, I wasn’t feeling all that safe with you gone. *they look at Giles* At first! And then I, uh, remembered that, um, Rupert was here and felt much, much safer.”
Giles: “Yes, thank you for the little back-pedal, but I’m forced to agree that I’m barely an adequate substitute for a Slayer in the house.”
Spike: “I’ve changed, Buffy.”
Buffy: “What, that chip in your head? That’s not change, that’s just holding you back. You’re like a serial killer in prison.”
Spike: “Women marry ‘em all the time!”
Spike’s Nice Guy Hissy Fit
Spike: “Aarrrrrggghhh! What the BLEEDING hell is WRONG with you bloody women?! What the hell does it take? WHY do you BITCHES torture me?”
Buffy, nonchalantly: “Which question do you want me to answer first?”
While I feel a bit bad for Harmony having to unknowingly act out Spike’s sex fantasies about Buffy, this moment is pretty amusing:
Harmony, dressed as Buffy: “Oh, I’m gonna stake you! I’m coming after you, you bad, evil vampire, and I’m gonna slay you! I’m sneaking up…and I’m gonna stake you so much with my slaying powers that I have because I’m Chosen On—ooh! *Spike tackles her* Oh, Spike!”
Did anyone call Ben turning into Glory before it happened? That was certainly a weird twist. Did you feel for Dawn when she finds out about her true nature, or is she still just as annoying? You already know my thoughts, but what did you think of “Crush” in this post-MeToo era? I found this tidbit about one of the producers and writer of this particular episode interesting: “David Fury didn’t like the direction the show was going in with regard to Buffy/Spike. To keep viewers from romanticizing their relationship too much, he inserted the line about Quasimodo being unable to truly love Esmeralda, which draws a parallel with Spike being unable to love Buffy without a soul.”
Make sure you grab your Kleenex for next week, because Sarah has the dubious honor of recapping “I Was Made to Love You” and “The Body” (I’m already sad!).