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Discussion of 5.19 "Tough Love" - Aired 5/01/01 (WB-US)

katmobile

Scooby
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That's what I love about the final four episodes of the season is the why they build the odds about Buffy and the Scoobies, and just how powerful Glory comes across as.

This is a good personal episode for Buffy in stepping up and making the tough decisions for Dawn as a Mother figure. The scenes with Tara and Willow are so touching. I do agree that the fight was forced. But to see just what Tara is put through and Willow's heartbreak is a big moment for their relationship. It's a nice touch than its Spike who points it out to Buffy that pretty much anyone would seek vengeance if that happened to a loved one. Think this is the start of a much darker tone for the show.
I agree the fight was forced but Willow did go against Tara's wishes in revealing the book that Dawn used to try and resurrect Joyce to Dawn. I think Tara found out or strongly suspected. I should have been made clearer though.
 

Mr Trick

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I agree the fight was forced but Willow did go against Tara's wishes in revealing the book that Dawn used to try and resurrect Joyce to Dawn. I think Tara found out or strongly suspected. I should have been made clearer though.

You made be right. Its not so much that. Its more the way Willow brings up the idea that Tara might be concerned about her switching back to men. To make matters worse Tara doesn't shut that idea down. That seemed to come out of no where.
 

Oromous

Socially Awkward
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Sineya
I don't like Glory as the Big Bad, not gonna lie. She's pretty much "The Brute" that just smashes her way to her goal. Pretty lame for a goddess. Not exactly Zeus or Poseidon who could throw around thunder and control the sea. I guess she does have the special ability of sucking people's sanity away, which I find to be kinda an arbitrary power at this point. Hopefully the future episodes would explain why she has this insanity in her in the first place, because man, I'm kinda bored by her at this point. I kinda wish she was a more famous mythical figure like Lilith or Hera; that would've been more interesting and easier to connect with. Right now she just comes off as a stock "crazy strong female character."

I heard comparisons of her with Cordelia, and I could see that... but no. She lacks everything that made Cordy appealing, even the pre-Angel Cordy, even the Bully-Era Cordy. It's not really Glory's meanness or her immaturity that's off-putting - Cordy had her own brand of those two traits as well. There's just something missing, you know? Some kind of charisma and charm that Cordy has. I'm sure Clare Kramer did her best with the material given, but I really find it hard to connect with the character. Like, I understand why she's like that - she's an all-powerful goddess who sees humanity as insects - but just because a villain's motivation is reasonable and realistic doesn't mean it's relatable or even remotely interesting at all. She's certainly no Thanos when it comes to arrogant characters who think they're above humanity. Or Loki for that matter. I just find her really boring. Not as bad as Riley, but whenever she appears on screen, I just have an "Oh, okay" reaction rather than a "Wow, she's amazing" reaction.

Anyway, I don't blame Buffy for acting this way. Just earlier, I was thinking about whether if I could handle the responsibilities of handling a child, and the answer is no, I couldn't. Beyond just raising her, you have someone with all the potential angst and existential crisis on your hands waiting for you to guide her or him. For Buffy, who's still recovering from her trauma, it's a big responsibility for her to handle. She's known how to solve her problems through force her whole life, and now she's forced to play the role of mum. It's not easy. Add on the fear of having Dawn taken away from her if Dawn doesn't study hard enough? That would get me into panic mode. I think she has handled the pressure of it all quite well.

On the other hand, Dawn isn't really to blame either, but I think I've already talked a lot about how I sympathize with her situation and angst. Being a teenager is enough to drive you nuts with all the hormones, and having to live with the fact that you might not be real would make you insane. The existentialism of it would be challenging enough for an adult, asking herself the kind of purpose she's created for, but for a teenage girl? That's unimaginably hard.

I rewatched the fight between Willow and Tara, and it feels like every single many of the fights I had with people, where you accidentally say something you shouldn't have, and the other guy adds fuel to the fire... and it just gets ugly from there. Tara accidentally said "frightens" and Willow projected her own insecurities about having a love others considered to be abnormal (Cordy really didn't help in their phone conversation during "Disharmony"), and then Tara made it even worse by contributing to Willow's misunderstanding, asking "Should I?"

It goes back to the whole theme this season on appreciating your relationships before they inevitably end, whether it's Giles almost leaving for England, Xander feeling insignificant in the group in "The Replacement", Riley's departure, Joyce's demise... or even Buffy in "The Gift". With Buffy being established as "reaching maturity" in the season premiere, "Buffy vs. Dracula", maturity being adulthood, the metaphor is that once you become an adult, relationships can have their way of becoming disconnected as you're separated or distracted by your own priorities in life. Glory feeling like an unstoppable force of evil works in this context because it might as well have been some higher power (be it God or the Powers That Be) that decided that the Twillow relationship that was once so healthy shall now come to an end, as if it's some form of fate at play. All Buff and the Scoobies could do in the face of such unstoppable forces at play is make the best of it and appreciate each other.

In spite of my feelings towards Glory, I am looking forward to how Buff is gonna stop her, if they stop her at all. How is Tara gonna recover? Does she recover once Glory is defeated? Is Twillow finished once and for all, resulting in her inevitable death in season 6 (that I heard of)? I'm anxious to see how all these themes connect together by the end. This season so far feels very satisfying like season 3 because of such an interconnected throughline right from the start.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Glory always seemed like a bit of a juvenile god to me rather than a fully grown once, hence why her grand master plan is just to go home. Her minions are basically her minders, they're there to serve her but also look after her. it explains why she seems able to talk to Dawn on some level.
 

Priceless

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Tara accidentally said "frightens" and Willow projected her own insecurities about having a love others considered to be abnormal (Cordy really didn't help in their phone conversation during "Disharmony"), and then Tara made it even worse by contributing to Willow's misunderstanding, asking "Should I?"
Do you think Tars said 'frightens' accidentally? I think that's exactly what she meant, and back pedalled because of Willow's reaction.
 
Puppet
Puppet
Agreed. It was all leading up to events coming in S6. And Willow's power WAS frightening, if looked at too closely.

Oromous

Socially Awkward
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Sineya
Do you think Tars said 'frightens' accidentally? I think that's exactly what she meant, and back pedalled because of Willow's reaction.
I think she did mean what she said. However, the "accidental" part isn't her choice of words; it's her choice of saying the word. I don't believe she would've said it like that intentionally as she seems to be the more tactful of the Scoobs.
 
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