Story Code '5ABB06'
by Joss Whedon
As Willow and Tara prepare for bed Tara voices her concerns about not being a member of the Scooby gang; Willow manages to reassure her that she is still needed. Meanwhile, Buffy reveals to Giles that Dawn is the Key to a mysterious portal, and that she has to protect her; Giles suggests sending Dawn away, but realises that there is nowhere for her to go; he and Buffy decide to keep this information between the two of them for the moment. The next day, everyone helps Buffy move from her dorm room back to her own home, supposedly so that she can help her mother, but really to protect Dawn. When Willow reminds everyone that there is a party for Tara’s birthday at ‘The Bronze’ the following evening, the others try to hide the fact that they had forgotten. In the hospital, the intern who previously helped Buffy and Dawn, Ben, is concerned with the epidemic of lunatics; he heads for the locker room, unaware that a demon is creeping up on him. However, before it can attack him, the Beast appears and captures it. At the’ Magic Box’, an ecstatic Anya is busy working when Xander and Buffy arrive and begin researching the Beast; unable to find anything, their conversation soon turns to what to get Tara for a birthday present, but no-one really knows her that well. While Spike and Harmony are having sex, Spike is fantasising about Buffy instead. Back at the ‘Magic Box’, Giles, Buffy and Xander are still discussing what to get Tara when a young man enters the shop and begins asking obvious questions about magic; as they try to deal with him Willow and Tara arrive, and the young man greets his sister - Tara. The young witch introduces Donny to all of her friends, but is obviously flustered because her stutter returns. Then Tara’s father and her cousin Beth arrive, and make plans for dinner with her that evening. Tara seems less than overjoyed, and once her family has left she is less than forthcoming about any of them. At the Summer’s house, Buffy forbids Dawn from going to a friend’s house, but is unable to explain why to either her or Riley, leading the latter to suspect that Buffy is hiding something from him. Tara returns to her dorm room and finds her father waiting for her, and he tells her he hoped she would outgrow her interest in magic, stating that her family has come to take her home because her twentieth birthday is approaching. He points out that this is the same time that her mother changed, and he knows that she has not told her friends that she may lose control and turn evil. Tara’s father leaves, instructing her to be ready to leave in the morning. Meanwhile, the Beast is talking to the demon she captured, questioning it about the human she fought, and then feeling humiliated when it tells her that she battled the Slayer; she then commands the monster to get some friends and kill the Slayer for her. Willow goes to Tara’s and tries to convince her to come to the Scooby meeting, but Tara refuses. As Willow leaves, Tara starts looking for something in her magic books. Later, Buffy, Giles, Xander, Dawn, Anya and Willow convene in the ‘Magic Box’ to discuss the Beast; unseen outside, Tara casts a spell on them, but none of them seem to notice. Riley is drinking at ‘Willy’s Place’ when a young woman tries to hit on him, but she is disappointed when he wearily remarks that he does not date vampires. When Harmony tells Spike of the demon’s plan to kill Buffy he immediately leaves, claiming that he wants to watch. Tara meets her cousin Beth and tells her that she will not go back home; Beth accuses her of being selfish, but Tara says her friends will never find out the truth about her. Beth realises that Tara has cast a spell on the gang, but Tara claims that it is only a harmless one, which will prevents them from seeing her demonic side. Thinking she heard something outside the ‘Magic Box’, Willow opens the door to look, but is unable to see the three demons standing there; undetected by anyone, the creatures walk through the shop and enter Buffy’s training room. As they prepare to attack her, Buffy senses their presence and tries to fight them off, but the demons easily gain the upper hand; Buffy tries to call for help, but the other demons attack her friends as well. Spike arrives and can see the demons, but when he attempts to help Buffy, she cannot see him either. Buffy retreats to the main shop room, where she tells everyone to be silent so that she can use her training to locate the demons. Just then Tara arrives and breaks the spell, enabling Buffy to defeat all of the now-visible demons. As her family arrive, Tara begs for her friends’ forgiveness; her father tells everyone that the women in Tara’s family are part-demon, and that part surfaces on their twentieth birthday. Tara assures Willow that she loves her. Buffy determinedly tells Tara’s father that he can only have his daughter if he goes through her; Dawn joins Buffy’s defiant stand, followed by Giles, as they now consider Tara part of their family. When Anya questions what kind of demon Tara will turn into, it quickly becomes obvious that her father cannot answer. Spike solves the question by punching Tara in the nose; he is immediately struck down in pain, proving that there is no demon in her at all. Buffy realises that this demon ‘myth’ is simply to keep all of the women in Tara’s family under control. Suitably chagrined, Tara’s family leaves. Later, everyone celebrates Tara’s birthday at ‘The Bronze’, and Tara is so happy that as she dances with Willow, the two of them slowly rise into the air…
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), James Marsters (Spike), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles), Amber Benson (Tara Maclay), Mercedes McNab (Harmony), Clare Kramer (Glory), Charlie Weber (Ben), Amy Adams (Cousin Beth), Steve Rankin (Mr. Maclay), Kevin Rankin (Donny), Ezra Buzzington (Bartender), Megan
Directed by Joss Whedon
TX (US): 7th November 2000
TX (UK - Sky One): 9th February 2001
*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Riley, Anya, Tara and Dawn