"Family"
Written and directed by Joss Whedon

Miss Kitty Fantastico (see “The Yoko Factor”) plays with yarn in Willow and Tara’s room as Willow asks Tara to tell her a story. Tara tells a story about a kitten that was alone until a man took her to the pound, where she was rescued by nice people. Tara admits to Willow that she doesn’t feel useful to the Scoobies, then wonders if Buffy found out anything at the factory (see “No Place Like Home”). At the Summers’ house, Buffy has just finished telling Giles what the monk told her about Dawn. She decides not to tell Dawn that she’s the Key and vows to protect her. She thinks that it’s safer not to tell the other Scoobies yet, and is sure that Glory will be coming after her again. Glory emerges from the rubble of the factory, ticked off.

The Scoobies help Buffy move out of her dorm room at UC Sunnydale, though Anya isn’t thrilled, since they helped her move in not too long ago. Buffy has decided to move back home, since she’s spending so much time there anyway. The conversation turns to Glory, and Tara mentions introducing her to her “insect reflection.” (This is supposedly funny if you’re familiar with “Taglarin mythic rites…and are a complete dork.”) As Tara takes some things to the car, Willow reminds the others about Tara’s birthday party the next night. At the hospital, Ben learns of another patient who has been admitted to the psychiatric ward - the fifth that month. In the locker room, he is almost attacked by a demon. Glory approaches the demon and tells him that she needs a favor.

Giles and Anya tend to customers at the Magic Box, and Anya makes it clear that she only wants to deal with “the money parts.” Giles asks Buffy for more information on Glory; Buffy provides that she was “kinda like Cordelia, actually.” Buffy and Xander discuss their presents for Tara, both admitting that they haven’t gotten her anything yet. Xander suggests that Buffy do some training to work off her tension. Training, or beating on Spike, which is what she winds up doing. Actually, not really - he’s fantasizing again, this time while having sex with Harmony. Back in the Magic Box, Giles is astonished that Buffy and Xander are sitting in a magic shop and can’t think of what to buy a witch. A guy enters and begins asking questions and looking around the store. Tara and Willow enters and Tara stops short. “You don’t have a hug for your big brother?” the guy asks.

Tara introduces the Scoobies to her brother Donny, who is impressed by the number of friends she has now. Donny tells her that “we” came down for her birthday. Tara is surprised to see her father, Mr. Maclay, and her cousin Beth enter the shop. The Maclays tell Tara they’re taking her to dinner and leave. Tara brushes off her family’s arrival and tells Willow she wants to help research. Buffy goes home and tries to stop Dawn from going to dinner at a friend’s house. Buffy tells Riley that Dawn isn’t safe with Glory running around. He offers to get Graham and some other military guys involved, but she tells him that the fewer people who are in the know, the better. He takes this as a hint that she doesn’t want him around and leaves, telling her that he’ll come back when she’s ready to let him help her out.

Mr. Maclay tracks Tara down in her dorm room and comments that she doesn’t even try to hide the fact that she’s a witch anymore. He says that he’d hoped she would get over the phase. (Get the lesbian undertones? Do you get it? Do you?) He reminds Tara that she’s turning 20, the same age her mother was when…something he doesn’t finish saying. Mr. Maclay tells her that she’s coming home with them but she is reluctant to agree. “You can't control what's going to happen,” he tells her. “You have evil inside of you and it will come out. And letting yourself work all this magic is only going to make it worse.” Tara replies that her power doesn’t feel evil. Mr. Maclay says that he’ll give her time, but that they’re leaving in the morning. As he leaves, he asks, “How do you think your friends are going to feel when they see your true face?”

Glory has tied up the demon (a Lei-Ach) in a nicely-decorated room and determines from him that the person she was fighting in “No Place Like Home” was the Slayer. She tells the Lei-Ach to get his buddies and go after Buffy. Willow returns to her dorm room and tries to convince Tara to go to a Scooby meeting with her. Tara tells her that not everything is about the Scoobies, then apologizes and says that she has a lot to deal with. Willow goes to the magic shop for the Scooby meeting; as the group talks about Glory, they don’t see Tara standing to the side, performing a spell. She sends dust towards the Scoobies; they are all hit in the eyes, then go back to what they were doing. Riley goes to Willy’s Bar (though, sadly, Willy isn’t there) and is hit on by Sandy (last seen in “Doppelgangland”). He tells her that he’s in love with someone else, and couldn’t be with her anyway, since she’s a vampire.

Harmony returns from looting a store and almost catches Spike with the head of his Buffy mannequin. She tells him that she heard the Lei-Ach and his brethren have been recruited to kill Buffy, and he replies that he’s going off to catch the show. Beth catches up with Tara on campus and Tara tells her she’s not going home with them. Beth lashes out at her, saying that Tara doesn’t care about her family. “I can't wait till your little friends find out the truth about you,” she tells Tara. “And they will, you know. No matter how innocent you act, they'll see.” Tara protests that they won’t find out and Beth realizes that Tara did a spell on them. Tara explains that the spell prevents the Scoobies from seeing the demon part of her. At the magic shop, Willow hears a knock at the door and goes to answer it. She doesn’t see the three Lei-Ach demons standing outside the shop.

Beth tells Tara that she’s going to rat her out to her father, who will tell the Scoobies the truth about Tara. “If I were you, I’d tell them first,” she says. “And then I’d tell them goodbye.” The Scoobies continue their work in the magic shop, oblivious to the Lei-Ach demons around them. One of the demons attacks Buffy in the training room and she yells to Giles for help. The other Scoobies try to fight the seemingly invisible attackers while Giles pushes Dawn under his desk. Spike arrives, happy to see the Lei-Ach demons attacking Buffy, then quickly changes his mind and starts helping her. Tara arrives and warns Buffy about the location of one of the demons. Tara realizes the extent of what she’s done and undoes the spell. As Buffy fights a demon, Mr. Maclay, Donny, and Beth arrive. Buffy kills the demon and asks Tara for an explanation. Tara says that she didn’t want the Scoobies to see who she really is, and Mr. Maclay tells them that the woman in their family have demon in them. He claims that her ability to do magic comes from this. Giles realizes that Tara performed a spell so that they couldn’t see the demons and Tara agrees to go home with her family.

Willow protests that Tara shouldn’t have to leave because she made a mistake. She asks Tara if she wants to leave and Mr. Maclay tells her it’s not her decision to make. He announces that Tara belongs with her family and says he hopes they all understand. Buffy announces that they do and says that if he wants Tara, he can take her. Tara is saddened until Buffy continues that he will have to go through her. Dawn quickly bands together with Buffy, but Mr. Maclay isn’t threatened by “two little girls.” The other Scoobies step up, saying that Mr. Maclay will have to go through them, too. (Except Spike, who doesn’t care what happens.) Mr. Maclay protests, saying that they are Tara’s blood kin and asking who the Scoobies are. “We’re family,” Buffy replies.

Anya asks what kind of demon Tara is supposed to be but the Maclays can’t provide an answer. Spike punches Tara and both of them wind up in pain. The Scoobies realize that Tara is actually human and Spike notes that the Maclays must tell the women in their family the story about being part demon to keep them in line. Mr. Maclay reminds Tara that her family has always taken care of her and she tells them to leave. That night, everyone gathers at the Bronze for Tara’s birthday party. Riley arrives and has a warm reunion with Buffy. Tara explains the insect reflection business to Anya, who maintains that it’s still not funny. Willow and Tara dance and Willow says that she loves Tara more knowing what her family is like. They finish out the party with some floaty dancing.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Sometimes cross-season foreshadowing is actually important.

GRADE: B- It’s nice to finally find out what’s really going on with Tara, but her family is too one-dimensional.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Tara: “And at the pound there were lots of other kitties, and there were puppies, and some ferrets….”
Willow: “Were there dolphins?”
Tara: “Yes. Many dolphins at the pound.”
Willow: “Or was there a camel?”
Tara: “There was the front of a camel. A half camel.”

Xander: “Ow! Thumb! Necessary opposable thumb!”
Riley: “Sorry. Crybaby.”

Buffy: “Giles, I noticed you're doing the smallest amount of helping that can actually be called helping.”
Giles: “Well, I saw myself in more of a...patriarchal sort of role. You know, lots of pointing and scowling.” (points and scowls at Xander and Riley) “You two, stop that!”
Riley: “He started it.”
Xander: “He called me a bad name. I think it was bad. It might've been Latin.”
Giles: “Stop it, or you're going to break something.”
Buffy: “Or I'm going to break something.”
(Xander and Riley let go of each other)

Tara: “Um…that, that was funny if you, um, studied Taglarin mythic rites...and are a complete dork.”
Riley: “Oh, then how come Xander didn't laugh?”

Buffy: (re: Glory) “I'm pretty sure she dyes her hair.”
Giles: “Right! That one, of course. Our work is done.”

Giles: “Come up with anything yet?”
Xander: “Well, candles, maybe, or bath oils of some kind.”
Buffy: “I saw a really cute sweater at Bloomies...but, I think I want me to have it.”
Giles: “And you are talking about what on earth?”
Buffy: “Tara's birthday. We're at a loss.”
Giles: “You're in a magic shop, and you can't think what Tara would like. I believe you're both profoundly stupid.”

Donny: “So all these books got spells in 'em? Turn people into frogs, things like that?”
Xander: “Yeah, we're building a race of frog people. It's a good time.”

Xander: “You're dealing with all of us.”
Spike: “'Cept me.”
Xander: “'Cept Spike.”
Spike: “I don't care what happens.”

Tara: “He hurt my nose.”
Willow: “Aw.”
Spike: “Yeah, you're welcome.”


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