Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No Place Like Home   Rewatch 
October 28, 2015 8:58 PM - Season 5, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Glory arrives on the scene, searching for something called the Key and sucking brains all over the place. When Buffy investigates, she finds out that Dawn is the Key, mystical energy given human form and sent to her for protection. Giles opens The Magic Box.
posted by yellowbinder (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The spell Buffy casts to figure out what Dawn is has to be one of the coolest effects they've done on the show.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:58 PM on October 28, 2015


Oh yeah, the trance is pretty great (the show will use a similar effect in after life in 6), and also is an important point. As well as revealing to Buffy that Dawn isn't real (although obviously not the audience!) it marks Buffy's continued connection with her slayerself. This is a vital theme for this series. I think that's the contrast between this and 2/3; earlier she was trying very hard to be Buffy and finds herself dragged back by the slayer self, here she decides to try very hard to be a slayer, and finds herself dragged back in by human concerns. When Buffy taunted Walsh in 4 that "she'd find out what a slayer really is" there was a certain amount of irony, because Buffy, and the audience, didn't know. This season is Buffy finding her own answer, to her own satisfaction. She wants to be more in touch with her power, but she won't accept that the slayer is a mindless killer. More on that in time.

This episode, of course, introduces Glory and Ben. While I don't like the actor who plays Ben very much, nor the lines he gets given ("not to be rampantly sexist in the workplace, but you have some serious muscles for a lady." WTAF???), I do like Clare Kramer as Glory. I know she's a bit of a controversial figure, but I like this petty minded embodiment of power, and she is immediately set up as a serious threat for Buffy. Adam clearly never wanted to actually hurt Buffy, so all his power was contained, but Glory immediately unleashes on Buffy, undermining her confidence, and is only defeated by accidentally bringing a building down on herself.

Incidentally, the plotting of this episode is weird. The monk has presumably come to Sunnydale to complete the ritual and speak to Buffy. Why did he leave the dagon sphere by the fence? Maybe Glory snatched him and left the sphere? Maybe he threw it away to save it? Eh, the writers will now forget it's experience to the very last episode, which is even sillier. We'll get to it later, but the whole timing of Glory is weird, because apparently she's only been in this plane since the birth of Ben, so max 30 years or so, but the knights of stupidity have presumably been around for longer than that??

Joyce's sickness progresses here. Riley is increasingly marginalised by Buffy's concern, and shows commendable emotional maturity by acting like a pathetic brat for the rest of the season. The removal of Joyce will be vital, because it's clear that Dawn is not meant to be Buffy's sister, metaphorically. She's absolutely positioned as a daughter, and her helpless nature reinforces that.

-Sarah Michelle Gellar pronounces "OK" really weirdly. Seriously, listen out for it, it's weird.
-Anya gets a job. Apparently she's never had to pay for things before... so how has she lived? Oh forget it...
-Giles in the wizard hat is such a great gag.
-"I'm president, you can be janitor."
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:15 AM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Anya gets a job. Apparently she's never had to pay for things before... so how has she lived?

Yeah, it's yet another time when this show is weirdly unclear about how people are supporting themselves. Angel was a lot better about this, IIRC. You had stuff like Cordelia struggling to pay the rent, and Wesley showing up in LA full of bluster but making it clear through muttered asides that he was so broke he was literally starving. But on Buffy, it's an ongoing question how these characters (with the exception of Spike, who lives in a crypt and just steals stuff) manage to keep the lights on. Was D'Hoffryn sending Anya checks when she was a vengeance demon? Did Anya take the money left when she cast vengeance spells that killed dudes? I don't get the impression she ever charged wishers for their wishes. Why is the show so evasive about how these folks pay the rent?

(Yes, I know Buffy's financial instability is eventually dealt with and Giles gives her some cash and she takes a job at the Double Meat Palace. But where did Giles get his cash?)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:49 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Clare Kramer fans should check out the Film Pigs show on Geek Nation, where she is a rather regular guest. It's a comedy series/film review show from You're the Worst creator Stephen Falk and a couple of his pals. Good times. (Although if I'm being honest I like their podcast a lot more. The Pigs are at their best when they're just goofing around, arguing about movies.)

(Also, I'm not participating in the rewatch and I forget all kinds of stuff about these episodes... but I checked it just now and not only did I have D'Hoffryn's name right but I even spelled it correctly. Somehow I even knew where to place the apostrophe! Apparently I'm an even bigger geek than I thought.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:55 AM on October 29, 2015


We'll get to it later, but the whole timing of Glory is weird, because apparently she's only been in this plane since the birth of Ben, so max 30 years or so, but the knights of stupidity have presumably been around for longer than that??

I always assumed they had been organized more around the Key, not Glory. That said, worldbuilding on Buffy was spotty, particularly as the series went on, so it's entirely possible that doesn't make sense either and I am merely remembering things poorly. A lot of stuff on the show didn't make tons of sense upon any kind of examination, from big stuff, (Glory's timeline), to smaller stuff, (the aforementioned "Why is Anya only having trouble with money now?" question, or "Why don't the Knights try to blend in a little?").

I did enjoy Glory all season, at least. Adam always felt shilled to me - they'd talk about how evil and dangerous he was, but at the end of the day, he never felt like more than a really impressive mook. Like if a miniboss character like The Judge got stretched out all season instead of being confined to a tense two-parter. I was annoyed with it right up until Primeval, where he was at least a little fun.

Glory was funny, and she was clearly a problem they couldn't confront head-on with a rocket launcher. Felt much more appropriate as a big bad. I liked that she only ever lost in early encounters because she underestimated the gang, especially her hilarious first encounter with Buffy in this episode.
posted by mordax at 12:48 PM on October 29, 2015


-Sarah Michelle Gellar pronounces "OK" really weirdly. Seriously, listen out for it, it's weird.

GODDAMMIT CANNON FODDER.

You've infected everyone. I hope you're happy with yourself.

Literally no Buffy fan I know has ever noticed this independently, but you cannot ever fucking un-hear it once someone points it out.
posted by Etrigan at 1:02 PM on October 29, 2015


I don't know, there's something about Glory's mental instability that really rubs me the wrong way this time through. On the one hand, yes she's the most powerful Big Bad we've had and she needs to have some weaknesses or at least something to make her seem a little human (ha). I just wished they hadn't picked the flaws they did. Just smacks too much of "women, they be crazy, amirite?" for my personal comfort. No need to talk me out of it!

Also can I just say how much I hate Dawn?
posted by Athanassiel at 3:59 PM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think her mental instability doesn't come off so well because Clare Kramer doesn't play those emotions very convincingly. She's super-awesome at being an arrogant, self-involved, Mega-Bitch-Goddess. But the crazy rings false. She gets upstaged by the day-players whose brains she eats in the crazy-acting department. I genuinely think she's the best Big Bad of the series though. The stakes always seem so much higher in season 5 for some reason. Maybe it's that Glory seems genuinely unbeatable.

I've noticed people bringing up Ben when talking about Glory's timeline and I'm a little perplexed. Is there some connection between Ben and Glory that I've missed?
posted by wabbittwax at 5:37 PM on October 29, 2015 [11 favorites]


The stakes always seem so much higher in season 5 for some reason. Maybe it's that Glory seems genuinely unbeatable.

One of my favorite lines in all of Buffy history is Quentin Travers saying, "She's not a demon. She's a god." I feel like they sold Glory well enough. (I agree that Clare Kramer doesn't really do 'crazy' very well though, no.)

I've noticed people bringing up Ben when talking about Glory's timeline and I'm a little perplexed. Is there some connection between Ben and Glory that I've missed?

I've watched Buffy all the way through maybe four or five times. I think I would've noticed something like that.

Also can I just say how much I hate Dawn?

It's been awhile since I was big into the Buffy fandom, but I think there may be a rule against *not* saying that.
posted by mordax at 5:52 PM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


The stakes always seem so much higher in season 5 for some reason.

I wonder if, had you asked someone who was watching for the first time and only up to, say, S5 E18, whether they'd agree? Are we retroactively altered in our perception because we know what has to happen to defeat her?
posted by phearlez at 8:28 PM on October 29, 2015


I remember watching season 5 as it aired. It was one of the nail-biting-est seasons of tv ever. Especially the way everything ramps up after Checkpoint.
posted by wabbittwax at 9:14 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


GODDAMMIT CANNON FODDER.

You've infected everyone. I hope you're happy with yourself.

Literally no Buffy fan I know has ever noticed this independently, but you cannot ever fucking un-hear it once someone points it out.


:) Everyone must share my pain!

I remember watching season 5 as it aired. It was one of the nail-biting-est seasons of tv ever. Especially the way everything ramps up after Checkpoint.

This season feels fast paced. It'll pause briefly for the Body, but after that it's a sprint to the finish. Glory just seems extremely dangerous: in her intro she mind sucks a security guard, tortures a monk and beats up Buffy. No-one had really done that: in terms of actual threat the closest we've come to that before was Angel.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:52 AM on October 30, 2015


Yeah, another vote here for "Glory was scary as fuck at the time, too." From her first appearance, it was clear that this was a Mayor-after-transformation level of power we were dealing with (especially as opposed to the Initiative and Adam). We knew this wasn't going to be The End, but especially after "The Body", I felt like anyone in the cast was potentially going to be killed off somehow.
posted by Etrigan at 5:46 AM on October 30, 2015


-Sarah Michelle Gellar pronounces "OK" really weirdly. Seriously, listen out for it, it's weird.

Mannn this always bugged the shit out of me, especially because I can't figure out how to write it phonetically.

oh cuhy?

oh quoi?

oh koi?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:34 AM on October 30, 2015


OK is just the most obvious example, but SMG has a bunch of weird quirks in her diction and elocution. I guess it has to do with the shape of her mouth and maybe she's never done any kind of voice training. It's kind of like her lips are a little lazy. I recall that being part of the reason I didn't find her remotely believable in "Cruel Intentions."
posted by wabbittwax at 11:01 AM on October 30, 2015


I will get seriously angry in S6 that Willow and Tara don't get jobs to support Buffy, Dawn, themselves and the mortgage. I know Willow has a full scholarship and probably financial support from her rarely seen parents. I don't know if Tarawa has a scholarship but she definitely doesn't have familial support. But if Buffy can do double duty as the slayer and a Doublemeat Palace wage slave, they can get some fucking college jobs.

I'm less surprised that Anya has been surviving without a job for centuries, as she is fairly lazy/cowardly until she is motivated. Work probably seemed awful before she realized she didn't just like money and nice things, but the satisfaction of earning them as well. Her ill-defined non-wish-related demon powers include super strength and teleportation. She could have easily been fleecing bank vaults forever, or just even just once and compounding interest in savings accounts for a few hundred years. I think it's hinted that dome of the smarter vampires on the show have done this.
posted by elr at 11:24 AM on October 31, 2015


She could have easily been fleecing bank vaults forever

She doesn't even need demon powers to do this in Season 7!
posted by yellowbinder at 11:47 AM on October 31, 2015


Buffy pouring red sand on the white rug ... grar. Why not put down a sheet to protect the floor? You'd think this would be standard practice for messy incantations.
posted by bunderful at 5:54 AM on January 21, 2016


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