Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No Place Like Home

Joyce: "So neither of you is pregnant, failing, or under indictment?"

Good episode. I think I like the Beast in the Red Dress, or the Abomination, or whatever she is. Did you notice the reference the Beast made to someone sitting on their tuffet again? What is this Miss Muffet stuff? Is the Beast somehow related to the First Slayer? Is she maybe another incarnation of The First Evil, the one that sent Angel back from Hell? Have I been watching this show too long? Naahhh.

I was really surprised that Dawn doesn't know what she is. It was neat that she was shown in scenes that could all be taken two ways; i.e., (1) Dawn is evil, or (2) Dawn really is Buffy's sister and is just acting like a brat. Dan and I both thought that there was poison in the tea Dawn made for Joyce.

However... I'm ambivalent about The Buffy Powers That Be leaving the whole Dawn situation up in the air. It looks like Dawn is going to be part of the entire season plot arc; but are they maybe leaving the possibility open that Buffy could have a little sister forever? As a whole, I really can't think of any series that has actually been improved by the addition of a bratty kid to the cast, and I'm not sure I like the Dawn thread taking precedence over what's happening with the other characters, all of whom I like better. (Not that I don't like Dawn. I'm just not crazy about her.)

I loved the whole Magic Box part of the plot. "Sunnydale... monsters... supply and demand..." "It's just a long cultural tradition of raging insincerity." Whatever money Anya has magically acquired is now gone -- very convenient timing, but at least it works, since Anya has demonstrated several times a strong and abiding interest in money.

I'm such a Spike fan that one of the highlights of this episode was Spike staking out Buffy's house. The two of them are turning out to be such a hoot together; are they getting off on her hitting him every time they meet? Is this one-sided or not? That five words or less thing was so cute, too.

So Joyce's headaches don't have anything to do with Dawn? Uh-oh. Do we have a second character with possible serious health issues here (other than Riley)?

Bits:

-- What language were the monks speaking? Does anyone know?

-- Sarah looked even more beautiful than usual in this episode. Speaking of which, okay, Buffy looks hot in them, but would a Slayer really wear big hoop earrings? Can't an opponent do serious damage to your ears pretty easily? I guess unbound long hair is also a liability in a fight. Okay, never mind, this is a fantasy show, gotta stop that logic stuff.

-- I liked the intern's reference to the radioactive spider bite.

-- Pumpkin belly? Gaackkk.

Quotes:

Night Watchman: "Miss, if you're looking for one of those rave parties, I'm afraid you're late. Chased a bunch of kids out of here last night."
Buffy: "Oh, right. Yeah. Darn. My fellow ravers will be so disappointed. It was my turn to bring the bundt cake."

Buffy: "Dawn, touch nothing."
Dawn: "Who died and made you the Iron Chef?"

Giles: "I've got feelings about this place. Magic is a small niche market but, well, think about it. Sunnydale, monsters, supply and demand... they'll be lining up around the block in no time."

Buffy: "I put this before the group. What the hell is it?"
Giles: "It appears to be paranormal in origin."
Willow: "How can you tell?"
Giles: "Well, it's so shiny."

Ben: "You know, not to be rampantly sexist in the workplace, but you've got some serious muscles for a girl."
Buffy: "I... um..."
Ben: "Radioactive spider bite?"
Buffy: "How'd you guess?"

Anya: (to customer) "Please go."
Xander: "Anya, the Shopkeeper's Union of America called. They wanted me to tell you that 'please go' just got replaced with 'have a nice day'."
Anya: "But I have their money. Who cares what kind of day they have?"
Xander: "No one. It's just a long, cultural tradition of raging insincerity. Embrace it."

Anya: "You know, Buffy, there used to be this French sorcerer back in the sixteenth, I-don't-know-what, named..."
Giles: "Cloutier?"
Anya: "So cute in his little knickers. But he had this one spell demons just hated called 'tirer la couture'."
Buffy: "'Rotate many foodstuffs'?"
Willow: "'Pull the curtain back'."

Buffy: "What are you doing here? Five words or less."
Spike: "Out... for... a... walk. Bitch."

Spike: "You know, I'm just passing through. Satisfied? You know, I really hope so because God knows you need some satisfaction in life besides shagging Captain Cardboard and I never really liked you anyway and... and you have stupid hair."

Two out of four stakes this week,

Billie
---
Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

19 comments:

Miguel said...

I liked getting a few answers to Dawn. I can totally see how if I was watching this when it originally aired all the questions and uncertainty about Dawn would probably be driving me crazy. I too am not wild about her character, but it's mostly because of how much a brat the writers make her and I get tired of listening to her and Buffy bickering non-stop.

I already knew when I initially watched the series that Buffy was going to get a little sister at some point, so I had accepted that she would be a big part of the series. I can imagine watching this for the first time though and not being wild about the idea of Dawn being a permanent part of the cast.

And Joyce is looking more sick this week. I really don't like seeing her ill. The hardest part is probably that Buffy has no idea what is actually wrong with her. Very scary and realistic.

Miguel said...

Also, I forgot how batshit crazy Glory is. What a crazy abomination.

Billie Doux said...

BUFFY RE-WATCH comments begin here! Remember, no spoilers for future episodes. Want to talk spoilers and foreshadowing? Season five spoilers are posted here.

Josie Kafka said...

Sarah looked even more beautiful than usual in this episode. Speaking of which, okay, Buffy looks hot in them, but would a Slayer really wear big hoop earrings?

"Ah, you just heard the horror stories. Wear hoops, they'll catch on something, rip your lobe off. Lobes flying everywhere."

sunbunny said...

Buffy's fashion choices consistently perplex me. I mean, no of course she's not going to walk around 24/7 in ninja gear or whatever. But even the battles she knows are coming she dresses…oddly for. (I'm thinking of her high heeled boots in the last episode in particular).

Josie Kafka said...

I was going to post this on "The Replacements," but apropos of Sunbunny's comment and the lobe discussion, I'll post it here:

What on earth was Buffy wearing? Tie-dyed brown sweat pants with white circles, a halter that appears to be the love-child of a washcloth and a tube of glitter, and (for a while) a superlong sweater-coat knitted by a stoned angora kitten.

Annie said...

Dawn really seems sinister, and the first time I watched this episode, they did have me guessing whether she was possibly evil, or at least aware of her situation. Knowing that she knows nothing about herself changes the perspective on the confrontation with Buffy, I felt a bit sorry for Dawn, Buffy was quite rough on her.

Spike is fab, his tone towards Buffy has changed and it took a punch to the face for him to gather some of his usual attitude, and even then he was totally flustered.

I like the final scene with Buffy and Dawn, it was quite touching.

ChrisB said...

I'm not a fan of the entire Dawn story arc, mostly because I am not a fan of the character. I do like the idea, however, of a Big Bad that is a serious threat to Buffy.

Spike. Gotta love Spike.

Billie Doux said...

"Out. For. A. Walk. Bitch." Ah, Spike. What is it about him? I was thinking about it while I was re-posting this review yesterday and it occurred to me that we don't often find characters who are sexy, compelling and interesting but who are also exceptional comic relief.

ChrisB said...

I agree, Billie. I love his character. Here is a badass vampire, but with the heart and soul of a true romantic. Now that he has realized with whom he is in love, he pines outside her house smoking.

The whole scene between Buffy and him just makes me smile, but especially the "out for a walk" and the awkward "I never really liked you anyway." Laugh out loud funny.

Annie said...

For the record - I'm not a Dawn fan and often call her 'Scrappy Doo' but I did feel a bit sorry for her in this episode. :)

I think you hit the nail on the head with Spike Billie, he ticks all the boxes, which is so rare, I can't think of another character who does it so well.

AndyDecker said...

I like the episode. As far as tv goes, the concept of Dawn was very original. To my knowledge it was never done before, even in novels.

And still Spike again stole the Scene. Five words indeed :-)

JRS said...

I like how Buffy's "magical" aspects are limited to/focused on specific areas. She seems far more shamanic in nature than Willow, for example.

I rewatched this season while my own mother struggled with cancer - the family banter always gets to me.

Lamounier said...

This episode is a really good start to season five's arc. Like some of you guys, I was really worried for Joyce the first time I watched it. I remember thinking "go back home, Buffy, now".

I like Dawn, she’s annoying but I just get a kick out of her annoyance (when it’s not over the top, that is). For instance, I love when Buffy asks Joyce if she had any names for her and Dawn comments with a little smile on her face “I got names for you”. Ha! Maybe I’m just like Willow and have this involuntary empathy for Dawn. I too feel for her on the final scene. There she is, trying to hurt Buffy with the made-up monkeys story, while we all know she’s the one that doesn’t belong. Or didn’t, because Buffy clearly accepts her.

The revelations of who/what Dawn is are really well handled. “No Place Like Home” has a clever script, one that intersects Joyce’s illness, which Buffy thinks is the supernatural plot of the week, with the actual supernatural plot of the week. In the end, Buffy has a lot to absorb: her memories were changed, she has this little supernatural being inside her house which happens to be innocent and needing her protection, and her mom is ill. Not supernatural ill, just ill. Poor Buffy. This is one of those BtVS episodes that leave me thinking about what I just saw while the credits roll (it happens a lot this season).

The big emotional punches are well balanced with some fine comedy. From Buffy’s quiet reaction to Giles’ costume to all the things Anya, the Magic Box scenes are a hoot. The introduction of Glory is a hoot too. I know some fans don’t like Clare Kramer (and from time to time you can see her limitations as an actor), but I like her Glory. She’s too damn entertaining.

All in all, great episode. I’m having the best time rewatching this season.

TJ said...

This episode (and Hush), I've discovered, is an easy fix to get someone interested in the Buffyverse. When they see this, they want more...

Brill ep.

honzix said...

Just watching this episode for the first time and it was very funny to hear the monks speak in my mother tongue - Czech :-)

Mallena said...

I would give this one 4 out of 4 glowing orbs. Glory is wonderful! New boy Ben is very cute, Buffy and Spike rock. The reveal about Dawn was nicely done. This is where season 5 really took off. Just lose Riley, and I'm very happy. The Key!! Monks!! SMG acts her heart out. Lovely.

Georgia said...

Buffy has always been really good at scenes that make someone's actions seem nefarious but are revealed to be innocent, such as suave-Xander in The Replacement having so many lines to make him seem like he was actually Toth "I can imagine what it would be like to all the sudden not be human," etc. I guess that's why this scene with Dawn and the tea didn't work for me, she actually acted like she was evil, it wasn't just the framing of the scene, she actually seemed to be putting the effort into acting evil, which then made the whole scene seem inconsistent and was invalidated for me.

That being said, I loved Dawn's entrance from the beginning because the three main characters were always only children, so it was fun as someone with a sibling to finally have that dynamic added into one of my favorite shows!

TJ said...

Timestamp: At 9:26 Buffy says "You just have no idea how much I wish I was an only child these days".

Back in Season 3 ep 3 Buffy's mom says Buffy was an only child.