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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Family
November 07, 2000
5ABB06

 
Credits

Writer:
Joss Whedon


Director:
Joss Whedon


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
Mercedes McNab as Harmony
Clare Kramer as Glory
Charlie Weber as Ben
Amy Adams as Cousin Beth
Steve Rankin as Mr. Maclay
Cast:
Kevin Rankin as Donny
Ezra Buzzington as Bartender
Megan Gray as Sandy
Teddy Pendergrass as Demon
Brian Tee as Intern
Peggy Goss as Crazy Person

 
Synopsis

Tara's about to celebrate her 20th birthday. Her family arrives — but not to celebrate the occasion. They've come to take her home before she turns into an evil demon just like her mother did at the same age. When Glory sends some Lei-Ach demons to take care of the Slayer, Tara inadvertently helps the demons toward their goal in her attempt to keep her friends from seeing what she believes lies beneath her surface.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

Lei-Ach Demon Lei-Ach Demons, yet another creation from the mind of Joss Whedon. Their clown-like appearance makes one think they're inspired by the clown monster in Stephen King's It. Rather than eating children, however, Lei-Achs suck out people's bone marrow.


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Body Count

Lei-Ach Demon
Head bashed against a wall by Buffy at the Magic Box.
Lei-Ach Demon
Impaled with a nasty-looking weapon by Spike at the Magic Box.
Lei-Ach Demon
Neck broken by Buffy at the Magic Box.
Total: Three
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Dialogue to Die For

Buffy: Nothing like getting your ass kicked to make your ass hurt.

Giles: Could we perhaps be a little less effusive Anya? We don't want to frighten the people.
Anya: I'm just so excited! They come in; I help them. They give us money in exchange for goods; you give me money for working for you. I have a place in the world now. I'm part of the system. I'm a working gal!
Giles: Yes. Well why don't you start organizing the shipping orders?
Anya: Oh no, that's boring. I just wanna do the money parts.

Buffy: So, what'd you get her?
Xander: Huh?
Buffy: Tara. You said you got a present already.
Xander: Yeah, that was a tangled web of lies, sweetie. I'm not really sure what kind of thing she'd... I mean, I don't really know her that well.
Buffy: I know.
Xander: I mean, she's nice!
Buffy: Yeah, yeah, nice... nice. I-it's just, I-I sort of...
Xander: I don't necessarily get her... but she's real nice.
Buffy: Yeah. There's just that thing.
Xander: That thing.
Buffy: That thing of not understanding—
Xander: Half of what she says?
Buffy: As for example. But she's super nice.
Xander: You betcha!

Tara: Families are always...
Willow: They make you crazy.

Tara: I was just afraid that if you saw the kind of people I came from, you wouldn't wanna be anywhere near me.
Willow: See, that's where you're a dummy. I think about what you grew up with, and then I look at what you are — it makes me proud. It makes me love you more.

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Willow: Was there a camel?
Tara: There was the front of a camel — a half-camel.
    Okaaaay...
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References

  • Xander (about Buffy's dorm): "You've got the two entrances — lot of opportunity for bawdy French farce..."
  • A farce is a "light theater piece with characters and events exaggerated to produce broad, simple humor" (Encyclopedia.com). A common bit in farces is to have characters coming in and out of multiple doors in a set, generally unbeknownst to each other. A prime example is Michael Frayn's hilarious farce about a farce, Noises Off.

  • Buffy (about Glory): "So any breakthrough on the identity of Miss Congeniality?"
  • Miss Congeniality is an award given out at beauty pageants. It's voted upon by the contestants themselves and goes to the most friendly and sociable contestant. Usually, Miss Congeniality doesn't win the pageant.

  • Xander: "Oh, that was a tangled web of lies, sweetie."
  • Attributed to Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832), a British writer, the full quote is: "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"

  • Mr. Maclay: "Forgive me for running out. We're double parked."
  • Double parking is the practice of parking one's car next to another car on a street. It's generally illegal, hence its use as an excuse for rushing off.

  • Buffy (about her job): "It's a rat race."
  • Rat race is a term frequently used to describe modern working conditions, the comparison being to rats used in experiments, forced to race through mazes and the like.

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Continuity

  • No Place Like Home

    This episode picks up shortly where the previous episode left off (the key points being that Buffy met Glory and that Dawn isn't really Buffy's sister). Offscreen, Buffy must have called Giles to come over after she left the monk.

  • Doppelgängland

    Sandy, the vampire who hits on Riley, was killed by Vamp Willow in "Doppelgangland." She was not shown being vamped and hasn't been seen or heard of until now.

  • Seasons One through Three

    In case you just started watching Buffy, Buffy's comparison of Glory to Cordelia was a reference to former regular Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter, now on Angel).

  • Goodbye Iowa

    Willow refers to the spell she and Tara attempted, which was supposed to reveal demons. Willow believed that the spell didn't work, not knowing that Tara sabotaged it — and now we know why. (You know, because she thought she had demon in her. Pay attention, folks!)

  • Choices / The Prom

    Harmony "shops" at April Fools, the store Cordelia worked at after her family lost all their money.

  • Real Me

    Anya exclaims during the attack of the invisible demons that she's already been injured this month — that was in "Real Me," when she was attacked by Harmony's minions.

  • Something Blue

    Willow insists that Tara just did a spell that went wrong. Though there's no direct reference here, Willow's understanding is likely heightened by her own such experiences, best shown in "Something Blue," when she too accidentally endangered her friends.

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • Some of you think it's a goof that Spike didn't feel pain even before he hit Tara, just from thinking about it. However, it seems pretty obvious to us that he had already figured out that she wasn't a demon. That's what that "Ooooooh" was about. Hence, no goof.

  • Another non-goof — that the gang, some of whom are not of legal drinking age, were apparently drinking alcohol at the Bronze. Though it may not be legal, it is nonetheless entirely realistic. Besides, they've been seen drinking before.

  • In the last scene, Tara rests her head on Willow's shoulder. The camera cuts out to a farther shot, and Tara then has a large chunk of hair fallen over her face. The camera cuts back in, and the hair is gone.
          Spotted by Mathew.

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Notes

  • We assume that actors Kevin and Steve Rankin (who played Donny and Mr. Maclay) are father and son, but can't say for sure.

  • Buffy's father is currently living in Spain with his secretary and is not returning Buffy's calls.

  • At some point offscreen (a couple of days before the events of "No Place Like Home"), Buffy moved in to a single, corner suite at the dorms. She decided to move back home to protect Dawn, telling the others it was to save money and be with her mom.

  • Buffy's dorm would have been room 214 — the same room number she had last year. This isn't necessarily a goof, as it would merely indicate that she was in a different building this year.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • Assuming as usual that the episode events take place on or near the airdate, Tara's birthdate is on or near November 7, 1980. Of course, this episode picked up immediately where "No Place Like Home" left off, which was on October 24, so one could make an argument for a late October birthday. Note: In the Season 7 episode "Help," Tara's birthdate is given as October 16, 1980. This isn't really a goof, since no conflicting date was actually stated in this episode.

  • Tara's last name is Maclay. Her known family: a father, an older brother (Donny), and a cousin (Beth). Her mother, though it's never stated outright, is presumably dead. (Later in the season, in The Body, we learn that Tara's mother died when Tara was 17.)

  • Tara's first spell: "Blind Cadria, desolate queen, work my will upon them all. Your curse upon them. My obeisance to you."

  • Willy's bartender notes that Riley has been coming to Willy's Place "night after night."

  • Tara's second spell, undoing the first: "Blind Cadria, lift your veil. Give evil form, and break my spell."

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Music

Note: To cut down on bandwidth theft, sound files are password protected. After you click "Listen," just enter the username bg and the password 8rt at the prompt. If the password doesn't work, that probably means it's been changed; refresh/reload this page to get the new one.

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Comments

Cassandra, Guest Reviewer:
Tara’s not evil! Tara’s not evil! Finally, a resolution to the long-standing Tara debate. In what I think is a brilliant move, Joss eschewed the predicted demon theory and instead reminded us yet again that there is nothing scarier than real life. Tara’s patriarchal, domineering family may have been a bit of a caricature, but their effect on Tara is harrowing and realistic. Tara’s place within the Scooby gang is still precarious — as shown by Xander and Buffy’s "gift-buying" conversation — but I think we can finally start to trust the character without all the nagging questions. Great confrontation scene, with the Scoobies presenting a united front, something that’s been missing for a while. And the ending — while I’m not usually a big fan of mushy romance, Tara and Willow are such a cute couple it made me giddy. Also, nice character development for Anya and Riley, more Spike craziness, and intriguing Glory hijinks. In all, a nearly flawless episode. (9.5/10)
Jamie Marie:
Hmmm. I'm find it really difficult to form thoughts so long after having first seen the episode. Yet another reason not to fall behind. But alas, it's too late now. So... Harmony's "Harmony" shirt — very cute. Anya's hand-rasing — even cuter. Spike — very cool. Spike and Harmony's little... um, scene — rowr! Ben — nice abs. Tara's family — in need of a group ass-kicking. Tara — good character development, and a nice resolution (finally) to the "Why did she sabotage the spell" question. It's nice to get some backstory on a character's family, for once — I think we now know more about Tara's family than about most of the main characters'. Buffy's American History X-esque curb-stompage — blech. In a cool way. Solid plot, solid performances, solid episode all around. Good music choices, too. Surprisingly unmemorable for a Joss double-header, though. Oh, and the floating thing? No. Just no. (Though I was close to tears before that bit.) (8/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
November 07, 2000 3.9 90 of 137

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