Buffy Logo 'Tough Love'
Story Code '5ABB19'

by Rebecca Rand Kirshner

Buffy decides to leave University to devote her time to Dawn, hoping to return the next semester. Ben arrives for work at the hospital only to learn that Glory has been using his body for two weeks, which costs him his job. Some time after, Glory relaxes in the bath, and, deciding that Buffy will still lead her to the Key, she instructs her minions to tell her about the Slayer and her friends once more. Buffy is summoned to Dawn’s school by her principal, and is horrified to hear that her sister has been skipping classes; Dawn is asked to leave the room so that Buffy and the principal can talk. Later, Buffy and Dawn visit the ‘Magic Box’, where Xander tries to cheer Buffy up about leaving university; then, while Willow helps Dawn with her homework, Buffy and Giles talk in the training room. Buffy confesses to Giles that she is concerned she will be unable to cope as Dawn’s surrogate mother; she attempts to enlist Giles’ help as Dawn’s disciplinarian, but he gently reminds her that she will have to do it on her own one day. Buffy determines to do her best to be strong for her sister, as well as firm and motherly. Willow asks Buffy join them at the World Culture Fair, but Buffy refuses as her life now has to be dedicated to Dawn. Glory gives her minions final instructions on capturing the Key. Tara and willow discuss Buffy’s situation, which Tara thinks Willow does not understand because she has never lost a parent like she and Buffy have; the argument escalates, Tara revealing that she is scared about how powerful Willow is becoming, and it soon becomes clear that she is worried that one day Willow may decide she is not a lesbian after all. Willow replies that she has only ever loved one woman: Tara. Hurt, she storms out. Meanwhile, Glory’s minions spy on Buffy and Dawn as they discuss Dawn’s chores; Buffy tearfully tells her that if she fails to do well in school she will be taken away and placed into foster care. While Willow broods at the ‘Magic Box’, Tara sits alone on a bench at the World Culture Fair; feeling a woman’s hand slip into hers she turns with a smile, expecting to see Willow - and is horrified to see Glory instead. When Giles notes that Willow is unhappy she tells him about the argument; Giles reassures her they will soon forget about their quarrel, and then opens the back door to reveal a lurking minion; in one smooth movement Giles slams the door into its head, knocking him down. After they tie him to a chair and begin questioning him the minion tells them that Glory is going after the witch, believing that Tara is the Key as she is the newest member of the Scooby Gang; in panic Willow races to the Fair to look for Tara. That moment, Glory is squeezing Tara’s hand so hard that blood oozes from it, but as she tastes it the Beast realises that Tara is only human; accusing Tara of lying, the Beast threatens her to reveal who the Key is, but Tara resists. As Glory’s hands drive into the young witch’s brain, Willow glimpses Tara through the milling crowd; too late, she reaches the bench but Glory is gone, leaving Tara one of her mindless victims. Later, at the hospital, the gang are told by a doctor that Tara is to be kept overnight for observation. Dawn has been left with Spike in his underground caverns; the young girl admits that she thinks of herself as the threat, having to watch her friends get hurt to protect her; Dawn admits that she thinks of herself as evil, but Spike reassures her that she does not fit the bill. At the hospital, Willow tells Buffy, Xander and Anya that she will seek revenge on Glory; Buffy manages to talk her out of it and Willow walks away, dejected. She heads for the ‘Magic Box’, where she goes straight to the black magic section and begins throwing weapons in a bag, before using a knife to open the lock on a dangerous book on magic. Glory is in her apartment when everything begins to shake, and as darkness descends the door is thrown open and Willow levitates into the room, her eyes jet black with power. With a spell she prevents Glory from moving, and then strikes her with bolts of lightning. Buffy joins Spike and Dawn in the catacombs, telling them about Willow; when Spike points out that if Dawn were hurt, Buffy would go after Glory, realisation hits the Slayer and she runs after Willow. Meanwhile, Willow shatters a mirror and uses the fragments to hurt Glory, but the Beast just mocks her attempts and slaps her across the room. Willow uses her power to levitate dozens of knifes and hurl them at Glory, but the Beast easily bats them aside. Before Willow can cast another spell Glory throws a table at her, knocking the witch to the floor; Glory pins Willow to the wall, and is about to stab her with one of the knives when Buffy arrives; as a fight begins, Willow manages to cast another spell which holds Glory immobile, enabling her and Buffy to escape. Back in Tara’s room, Willow is feeding her girlfriend while Buffy and Dawn keep her company; Willow tells them that the hospital gave her a lot of medicine for Tara, and that she may have to be tied down at night; however, nothing will make Willow abandon her. Suddenly, one of the walls is ripped away, revealing Glory standing outside. Tara begins to panic, and as she looks at Dawn she begins to babble about her pure, green glow. Glory smiles, suddenly realising that she has finally found the Key…

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), James Marsters (Spike), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles), Amber Benson (Tara), Clare Kramer (Glory), Charlie Weber (Ben), Troy T. Blendell (Jinx), Anne Betancourt (Principal Stevens), Leland Crooke (Professor Lillian), Todd Duffey (Murk), Alan Heitz (Slook)
Directed by David Grossman

TX (US): 8th May 2001
TX (UK - Sky One): 11th May 2001

*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Anya, Tara and Dawn