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Join Comixology Unlimited to read BtVS comics — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
Blood Ties
February 06, 2001


Steven S. DeKnight

Michael Gershman

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Amber Benson as Tara
Clare Kramer as Glory
Charlie Weber as Ben
Troy T. Blendell as Jinx
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Justin Gorence as Orlando
Michael Emanuel as Burly Guard
Joe Ochman as Janitor
Paul Bates as Crazie #1
Carl J. Johnson as Crazie #2
Candice Nicole as Young Buffy
Elyssa D. Vito as Young Dawn


As Buffy and friends celebrate her 20th birthday, Dawn's entire world crumbles around her after she learns that she is the Key. Confused and depressed, she runs away, and ends up running into Ben. However, when Dawn reveals that she is the Key, Ben freaks out and then morphs into Glory. Glory pumps Dawn for information, and Buffy and company arrive just in time, as Glory concludes that Dawn doesn't know where the Key is. Willow and Tara teleport Glory elsewhere, and Buffy is able to convince Dawn that she is indeed a Summers.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Glory We find out much more about Glory in this episode. Apparently she is a hellgod from one of the more unpleasant demon dimensions, which she ruled over with two fellow hellgods. Although Glory would, in her own dimension, likely be able to smite with bolts of lightning and the like, in human form her powers are severely limited, mainly to great strength and immortality. Being in human form is also having a detrimental effect on her sanity, and she has to steal the cohesive energies from human minds to keep her own intact.

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Body Count

Three Minions
Stabbed by the Knights of Byzantium in a forest clearing.
Two Knights of Byzantium
Killed by Glory with their own swords in a forest clearing.
Hospital Security Guard
Neck broken by Glory in the hospital.
Total: Six
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Dialogue to Die For

Willow: "Well, you know what they say. The bigger they are—"
Anya: "The faster they stomp you into nothing."

Anya (to Dawn): "You make a very pretty little girl!"
Xander (trying to shut Anya up): "Anya, you wanna help me with that thing?"
Anya: "Heh heh. Xander needs help with his 'thing.'"

Anya (holding the frilly dress Buffy received): "Oh, it's just so lovely! Ooh, I wish it was mine!" (The group gives her a funny look.) "Oh, like you weren't all thinking the same thing!"
Giles: "I'm fairly certain I wasn't." (whispers to Xander) "I've got one just like it."

Spike (about Dawn): "She's not just a blob of energy, she's also a 14-year-old hormone bomb. Which one's screwing her up more right now, spin the bloody wheel."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Glory: "What I'm tryin' to noodle...
    What she's trying to noodle? That's lame, even for Glory.
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  • Willow: "A 20th birthday party with... with... with presents, and funny hats, and-and those candles that don't blow out."
  • Willow is referring to trick party candles, typically sold as "Magic Re-Lighting Candles" that, as Willow said, don't go out (or more correctly, go out momentarily and then light up again).

    A Pinata
  • Buffy: "I just don't think this is the best time to break out the party piñata."
  • Italian in origin, Piñatas are cardboard or papier-mache figures with candy inside. Generally used at children's birthday parties (or, in some Latin American countries, at Christmas), participants are blindfolded, spun around several times to lose their orientation, and then given a stick and requested to hit the piñata. When the piñata is split open the candy spills out and everyone rushes to get it.

  • Dawn:: "Well, jeez, don't get all movie-of-the-week."
  • Many of the major networks have shown their own low-budget movies they call the "Movie of the Week." These are often tear-jerking dramas about terminally ill family members, or some other misfortune befalling people with tragic (or, occasionally, uplifting) results.

  • Spike (to Dawn): "Sneaking out to braid hair and watch Teletubbies with your mates?"
  • Teletubbies is a show launched in 1997 in the UK by the BBC. It is aimed at preschoolers, and features 4 brightly colored child-like creatures who live together in Teletubbyland. The show is intended to be educational, especially in regards to speech and vocabulary, and has proved highly popular, at one time becoming something of a fad. It is currently broadcast by PBS in the US.

  • Spike: "Bet they'd really go for a little red riding hood like you."
  • Little Red Riding Hood is the main character of the fairy tale of the same name. The story is at least as old as the very early 19th century; it has been told and written in many different languages with many different versions — authors include the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault. Though each version varies, the basic plot has Red Riding Hood off to visit her grandmother; she runs across a wolf (who asks her what she has in her basket), tells him where she's going, and he beats her there. When she gets there, he has locked her grandmother in the closet (or eaten her, depending on the story version) and dressed up in her clothes to trick Red Riding Hood in an attempt to eat her as well.

  • Spike: "Maybe if you had been more honest with her in the first place, you wouldn't be trying to make yourself feel better with a round of Kick The Spike."
  • Kick the can is a traditional urban game. The game basically involves one person who stands in front of a can counting, while the other players hide. The counter then searches for them, and if he finds them, has to try and tag them before they run and kick the can over (and thereby become safe from tagging). More details here.

    Gentle Ben
  • Glory: "What I'm tryin' to noodle, is what in the world was the Slayer's little sis doin' here with Gentle Ben?"
  • Gentle Ben was the title character (if you can call a bear a character) of the 1960s TV show of the same name, about a boy and his tame bear. It starred Clint Howard (you know, Ron Howard's brother).

  • Buffy (to Dawn): "I think you sort of have a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card, on account of big love and trauma."
  • Created in 1934 by Charles Darrow in Pennsylvania, Monopoly is the best selling board game in the world, with over 200 million copies having been sold in 80 countries and 26 languages. The board has 36 squares, most of which are "property," and the game revolves around players trying to buy up all the property. One of the squares is "Jail," which players can be put into, unless they have a "Get Out of Jail Free" card.

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  • Triangle

    Xander's arm is still bandaged, due to the solid beating and breakage he received from Olaf the troll (the former owner of the hammer Spike tries to lift). Also, Spike brings the damaged box of chocolates which he practiced giving to his Buffy-mannequin, intending to give them to Buffy for her birthday.

  • Checkpoint

    Last week, the Knights of Byzantium came to Sunnydale to destroy the Key, and the Watchers Council informed the gang that Glory is a god. Also, Dawn refers to Glory having visited the Summers' home, which is also how Glory recognizes Dawn. And lastly, Ben makes reference to his attack on Jinx, evidence of which is still visible on Jinx's face.

  • No Place Like Home

    The fact that Dawn is the Key was revealed and explained in "No Place Like Home."

  • Listening to Fear and Real Me

    Dawn recalls the nutcases who accosted her in previous episodes.

  • Shadow

    Dawn recalls the giant snake that sought her out in "Shadow." Also, Buffy asks if the group looked for Dawn at the carousel — that would presumably be the same one that Riley took her to in "Shadow," and which Dawn said Joyce had rented out for Dawn's birthday just after they moved to Sunnydale.

  • Into the Woods

    Riley left for Belize on an Army demon mission and is in a communications blackout (as mentioned by Buffy), and Joyce was released from the hospital (as mentioned by Ben), where she'd been due to a brain tumor.

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • When Dawn is ripping up her diaries and throwing them into the trash can, there is a magazine sitting on the wooden chest at the end of her bed that is clearly visible in a couple of shots, then disappears, then is clearly visible again.
          Spotted by Steph.

  • When Buffy goes to Spike's crypt to yell at him, whenever the camera shows Buffy from Spike's point of view, it's bright enough that she creates a shadow on the coffin. However, whenever the camera is behind Buffy, there's not enough light for her to create a shadow.
          Spotted by Julie.

  • It's been reported as a goof that in Dawn's memory of playing on the swings, she and Buffy were too young to have been in Sunnydale. However, the surroundings of the swing set in her flashback are substantially different than the surroundings of the one she's looking at. Thus, it would seem that seeing the swing set may simply reminded her of having played on a swing set, but not necessarily that one.

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  • Both Willow and Tara claim to have been scared as children by trick party candles.

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Overall, this was a solid episode. It had its moments. Awww, I loved to see Dawn and Spike bonding through delinquent behavior. Michelle Trachtenberg is good with all of the cast members, but it's especially cool to see the chemistry that she and James Marsters have. She's holding her own with all of the cast members. In addition, a million bonus points for the cutting scene, it proves once again how utterly disturbing and real Dawn's situation is. A metaphor for adoption, anyone? (8/10)
I think this is a great episode, based mostly on the pathos of Dawn's discovery. I can't help but feel for her — I don't really know how anyone could deal with the sudden knowledge that they weren't real, and more than that, had only been alive for 6 months. Michelle Trachtenberg acquits herself admirably, showing great distress, yet never crossing over that line to becoming annoying. Spike has a couple of great scenes, mostly when he tags along with Dawn to the magic shop — I especially like the almost childlike rivalry the two of them seem to have ("I'm badder than you." "Are not!"). Although I have to wonder why Spike was too cheap to buy (i.e. steal) another, undamaged box of chocolates for Buffy. There was also some good tension between Buffy and Joyce, as Buffy clearly felt herself better able to help and understand Dawn than Joyce — perhaps because of her own experiences in discovering herself the Slayer. Glory is starting to annoy me however, with her insistence on terming everybody "baby." Willow's teleportation spell was a neat trick, although it might not have been quite so convenient for the gang if spell had moved Glory about an inch to the left! Anya was funny during Buffy's birthday party, as was her reaction to Dawn and Xander's "thing." I also liked Xander's less-than-subtle gloating over Dawn's crush on him. There wasn't really anything specific that I didn't like about this episode, except maybe the Knights of Byzantium, once again, although the episode as a whole felt kinda slow and didn't always hold my interest. The last fight dispelled that, and was suitably exciting, ending the episode on a high note. (8/10)
Jamie Marie:
Dawn, Dawn, Dawn. Have I mentioned that I like Dawn, and that Michelle Trachtenberg is an awesome little actress? She really is. The cutting scene, and pretty much everything thereafter, shows supreme talent. Plus, the Dawn/Spike interaction couldn't really be much more enjoyable (Spike's childishness is lurvely — "Are not!" — Tee hee!) Anyhow, besides Michelle's portrayal of it, her story is excellent. The metaphors (adoption, as well as plain old teenage "Who am I; why am I here; I don't belong" thoughts) are, true to BtVS fashion, impressive and engaging. So, what else did I like? Anya, as usual, with her "You make a pretty girl" bit. Spike throwing aside the coffin lid and telling Buffy off, showing a bit of the Spike of old. Buffy later admitting that Spike was right, and Spike trying to reassure her. Joyce and her soup. I didn't really dig Ben's freakout, mostly, I think, due to Charlie Weber's portrayal there (sorry, Charlie!). He seemed to me unsure of himself, and as though he didn't know what to do with his hands. All in all, much like many an episode, very good stuff that just doesn't quite hit the mark of a superb episode. That's what Joss gets for setting such damn high standards! (8.75/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
February 06, 2001 3.3 91 of 136
June 13, 2001 1.4 111 of 136 (tie)

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