‘Tis the TV season of Buffy reunions on The CW: Supernatural recently paired up James Marsters (Spike) and Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia). And tonight’s episode of Ringer—starring Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar—features a guest appearance by Amber Benson (Tara).
For fans of the Whedonverse, this is big news. So in honor of Benson and Gellar crossing paths again, we've listed the five essential Tara episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Which is currently streaming on Netflix, just in case you’ve never had the pleasure.)
“Hush” (Season 4)
Tara’s first appearance on the series was a quiet one: primarily because she was painfully shy, but also because her arrival coincided with the arrival of the Gentlemen, demons who stole everyone’s voice. But Tara shone in silence, performing a spell with Willow that saved both their lives—and hinted at the romance to come.
“Restless” (Season 4)
While Tara spent most of Season 4 as Willow’s companion (and later girlfriend), “Restless” hinted at how essential she’d become to the series. She was a spiritual guide of sorts, a conduit for the First Slayer. Oh, and she showed a lot of skin in one scene and donned leather apparel in another—if you’re into that sort of thing.
“Family” (Season 5)
Joss Whedon penned the first real Tara-centric episode, in which Tara’s relatives (including a young Amy Adams) came to visit and generally be awful. Turned out her folks perpetuated some silly rumor about the women in Tara’s family turning evil at a certain age. “Family” proved Tara wasn’t, you know, a soulless demon—and fully integrated her into the group.
“Once More, With Feeling” (Season 6)
And she sings! The Buffy musical is a classic for a variety of reasons, but it’s also a showcase of the cast members’ vocal talents. Benson has a lovely voice, and she got to sing “Under Your Spell,” one of the episode’s best (and raunchiest!) numbers. The song was a great articulation of Tara’s maturation from quiet loner to outspoken witch.
“Tabula Rasa” (Season 6)
The one-two punch of “Once More, With Feeling” and “Tabula Rasa” was the best Season 6 ever got. When the gang lost their memories in the latter, Tara and Willow fell for each other again—particularly bittersweet given that they were about to part ways. And that final break-up scene, scored to Michelle Branch, still makes my lip quiver.
Ringer airs tonight at 9pm on The CW.