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August 31, 2015

Buffy's not-so-happy birthdays (part two)

by Debra McDuffee, posted Jun 25th 2008 2:30PM
Ben changing into Glory

Yesterday, we delved into seasons one through four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's birthday episodes. Let's just say you really, really don't want to celebrate Buffy's birthday with her, as catastrophe, drama, and heartache are always center stage.

Season Five, episode 13, "Blood Ties"

Buffy's 20th birthday goes no better than the previous ones. "Blood Ties" is all about how Buffy and Dawn share the same blood, "Summers blood," even though Dawn was created by monks to be The Key. Yes, it was a somewhat syrupy solution to Dawn's incessant whining in this episode, but it is so important for the resolution to the season, and the defeat of Glory, the Big Bad (Buffy can die instead of Dawn to save the world. Again.).

Significant to the whole season:
  • The Scooby Gang and Spike -- and Dawn herself -- learn that Dawn is The Key. It is revealed that Buffy and Giles have known for a while.
  • This is the first time we truly understand Ben's and Glory's relationship. That she, in essence, is Ben, and vice versa, and Glory can take over Ben's body.
  • Willow does her first teleportation spell, sending Glory into the sky. Funny moment.
  • Ben learns that Dawn is The Key.

Season Six, episode 14, "Older and Far Away"
A season later, and Dawn is still whining. Buffy has grown older quickly, with the death of her mother and the responsibility of caring for Dawn. She's also far away: from the Scooby Gang, as she is secretly sleeping with Spike (only Tara knows); from Dawn, since she is either working or doing slayer stuff; and from Giles, whose presence and guidance are desperately needed.

Dawn inadvertently traps them in the house, with help from Halfrek the vengeance demon. Dawn no longer feels alone, but puts the gang in real danger because a disappearing demon is released from his sword. Incidentally, Giles would have known what the demon was right away and how to defeat it. Did I mention how needed his character is? As anxious as everyone is to leave the house once the curse is finally broken, Buffy panders to Dawn once again and stays with her.

Momentous events:
  • When Spike and Halfrek see each other, they realize that they know each other (she refers to him as William), but neither admits it. Wonder where this could have gone? Might have been fun.
  • Willow sticks to her guns and doesn't perform any spells, even though it could have helped them escape from the house.
  • Dawn's kleptomania is revealed.
  • Dawn shrieks her dramatic fallback, "Get out, get out, get out!" for the second birthday episode in a row. Will someone please do a video montage of these?
Season Seven
Sources speculate that there is no birthday episode in season seven because, at Buffy's last party, Spike says, "You ever think about not celebrating your birthday?" Must have sounded like a good idea....

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You point out the two biggest problems with Seasons 6 & 7: DAWN is still around, and still whiny, and there's very little of Giles. (I liked the geeks, but got very sick of the Willow magic/drug addiction storyline).

I've owned seasons 1-5 on DVD for a while, and recently gave in and bought season 6 just to have "Once More, With Feeling", "Tabula Rasa", "Normal Again", and maybe a few others. But I doubt I'll ever bother with season 7. Once during the original broadcast was more than enough.

It's like the whole series just petered out after Season 5. I don't blame UPN, since most of the production team and cast (other than Giles) stayed intact. It also got SO much darker, with fewer & fewer moments of levity to balance things out.

I've enjoyed all the Retro Squad postings this week--thanks!

June 26 2008 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


June 25 2008 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Spike DID know Halfrek- the same actress played Cicely, his love in the flashback from before he was a vamp. She told him he was "beneath her" causing him to run away crying and get vamped by Drusilla in a dark alley. Now this may have been an inside joke by the writers, or she could have actually been Cicely- on a sabbatical from her demonhood like Anya.

June 25 2008 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to kate's comment
Debra McDuffee

Ah! Now that you say this, I have some inkling of remembrance, back in the awake part of my brain! Thanks for pointing this out.

June 25 2008 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Shortly after Spike left the party, Cicely/Halfreck massacred everyone there.

June 26 2008 at 11:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hump Day during in the retro week, can't say I've been reading the articles mainly just the title. Am I the only person that feels like I didn't so much watch Buffy the Vampire slayer but that I've survived it.

Buffy was my favorite show when I watched it but now I don't even consider it when I judge another show, not because my opinion has changed, its more like I've retired it's jersey. All the new shows can get a new number.

Kudos to you for being able to plow back through the center of the Whedonverse, when I think of buffy I think about finding a cool dry place to hide.

June 25 2008 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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