Episode Title: Blood Ties
Original Air Date: February 6th 2001
“Glory is evil. And powerful. And in no way prettier than me.” – Buffy
This week should have been another big moment for the series as Dawn finally discovers the truth about herself along with the rest of the Scoobies. Unfortunately for Dawn, Glory is closing in while the truth about her connection to Ben is also revealed.
With all this going on you’d expect this to be an action packed episode but what we get instead is a somewhat plodding experience in which more of the focus seems to be on the fact its Buffy’s Birthday despite the fact that the group have just learned that Glory is infact a god rather than the regular run of the mill demon that they assumed she was which of course poses all kinds of problems but hey what does that matter when there is a party to plan right?
Unsurprisingly Dawn is the focus of this episode as the group try to awkwardly hide the truth from her, which outside of Anya’s usual inappropriate behaviour as she feels that the best way to cover for their Dawn discussion is to tell her that they are talking about sex, before covering for such a flimsy excuse by being even more explicit!
We also get to see more of the Knights of Byzantium who showed up in Sunnydale in the previous episode and this week get into a brief brawl with Glory’s minions. Despite being dressed up in medieval armour they are surprisingly one of the few things which scare Glory due to their unrelenting nature as no mater how many of their number she slays there will always be more ready to take their place.
Dawn’s journey of self discovery this week at least goes in some interesting directions as she tries to make sense of the fact that she’s essentially not real, leading her to cut herself to question how she can bleed if she’s not real. We also get to see more of the bond that she shares with Spike who despite still proclaiming himself the loner of the group is still willing to accompany Dawn in her efforts to break into the magic box.
Glory is once more provides the high points for the episode thanks mainly to her being such a fun character when she is on the screen, while the reveal that her and Ben are the same person adds a fun twist to the season, even if the reveal looses its effect after the initial time you see it. The other big reveal for her character though more subtly played is why she keeps absorbing the brain energy of her victims which has lead to such an influx of crazies in Sunnydale. Here though she continues to remind us of how tough she is as she easily despatches of the group while providing herself invulnerable to crossbows and really only beaten when Willow and Tara transport her way above Sunnydale using a spell which basically amounts to them throwing glitter at her.
A weak episode made only the more frustrating by the pacing and how deflated such a key moment of the season should have played out as its weighed down in teenage angst and car crash comedy moments from Willow (has she always been this annoying?).
Next episode: Crush