Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 5 Episode 13

Blood Ties

5
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Feb 06, 2001 on The WB
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (15)

8.7
out of 10
Average
471 votes
  • An excellent arc episode which really utilizes Dawn as a metaphor for adoption to its fullest while also proficiently furthering the arc of the season.

    9.0
    The title, "Blood Ties," refers to the links discovered between Ben and Glory as well as between Dawn and Buffy and how those links affect all of them. This is where the episode focuses its attention. Oh yeah, and Willow teleports Glory into airspace! What could possibly be more exciting!?



    It's Buffy's birthday, so you can count on lots of pain right from the start! At least Dawn has excellent reasons to be very obnoxious and sneaking around this time. The episode picks up shortly after "Checkpoint" ends, with the Scoobies gathered around discussing the new information obtained from the Watcher's Council on Glory. A lot of shows like to skip right past critical information gained in previous episodes, but thankfully not this one. I personally think Buffy was smart to keep Dawn's keyness a secret. The way everyone acts when they know later on proves Buffy was correct. Anya is still amusing though, telling Dawn, "You make a very pretty little girl!" Later on Dawn tells Spike she's badder than him in a very amusing scene. Spike, as usual, twists it around and makes fun of Dawn. She finds out about her key-like nature by breaking into the Magic Box with Spike, which feels oddly fitting.



    All this setup leads to the fantasticly powerful scene with Dawn and the knife. Great acting from a young Michelle Trachtenberg here. The following Dawn bedroom scene is also excellent with a very appropiate response to her situation: "so I've only been alive for six months, huh?" Dawn's first "GET OUT!" triplet is out and is very fitting here. That girl can sure scream though! One little thing to note is that as the gang leaves the house, Giles asks if he should stay. Buffy tells him, "this is a family This just goes to show that while Giles is incredibly close and family-like to Buffy, he is not family. This is an important distinction when recognizing that "The Body" is not far away.



    Joyce tries to help Dawn out and gets a response of "you're not my Adoption metaphor much? This is played very well though. Normal activities become meaningless to Dawn in the light of this kind of life-changing news. Dawn looking at her diary, holding it dear, feeling the pain of the truth, and then burning all of it ring very true. For once I can understand why she's running off outside into possible danger. I like how Spike points out that Dawn probably would have run off even if she hadn't found out, which kind of makes fun of how silly Dawn often is. I'm really pleased to see her use the precarious situation she's in with Glory later to pump Glory for information about just how close she is to finding the key, along with getting information about its origin at the same time. That's one of Dawn's few intelligent moves in the series.



    When Buffy finds out Spike helped Dawn out she really lets him have it for a bit. Spike verbally retaliates leaving Buffy disappointed knowing Spike is actually right. This situation is Buffy's fault, not Spike's: "Oh, yeah, here it comes. Something goes wrong in your life, blame Spike. News flash, blondie. If kid sis wants to grab a midnight stroll, she'll find a way sooner or later. I just thought she'd be safer with big bad looking over her shoulder... 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 Buffy can only turn around and leave in defeat, and even later admits to Spike that he was right.



    The end of the episode provides a really cool fight scene with Glory, the best since her introduction. I love Willow and Tara's teleportation spell. It's interesting to note just how much it hurt Willow, with Giles even pointing out just how dangerous the spell was. Glory's power has been fueling Willow's desire to increase her power. Although Willow would have gotten to a powerful place eventually, regardless of external forces, the urgency of needing a weapon against Glory is what pushes her to the next level now. It's very hilarious where Glory materializes though!



    So overall I don't have any big complaints with this one. It's a good, solid, entertaining arc episode which does everything it needs to do, and does it very well. We get more information on Ben and Glory, Dawn and the rest of the Scoobies find out about the Key, Willow's power concerns Giles even more as well as beginning to physically hurt her, and Buffy continues to have somewhat amicable conversations with Spike. All in all, I'm quite happy.
  • Dawn realises the truth

    7.0
    The Good;

    Dawn's ep first and foremost and she really comes into her own here. Very touching scenes, especially with the Summers girls and Dawn's memories, precious to her but she knows they were created. The battle with Glory is also great and I defy anyone to say they knew Ben was Glory?



    The Bad;

    ?



    Best line;

    Buffy; "Summer's blood', how important that will be!



    Jeez!;

    Glory killing the security guard



    Kinky dinky;

    Anya tells the gang about her and Xander playing dress up, I get Xander being a fireman but a shepherd? Spike thinks the only way monks can justify giving up girls is if they're protecting something. Anya says that Xander 'Needs help with his thing'. More Glory-Buffy-Dawn subtext with Dawn saying that Glory is prettier than Buffy. Glory thinks that knights have a 'fear of intimacy'. Buffy likes her presents 'more frilly, less killy' with a girly dress. Giles apparently has 'one just like it'. Spike refers to Dawn as a 'hormone bomb' and Glory as a 'skank'.



    Captain Subtext;

    Dawn self-harms, once again Buffy using a magical metaphor for a very real and serious social problem. Anya thinks Dawn is very pretty. The little look that Buffy and Joyce share when she hugs Dawn at the party is priceless. Buffy intends to start a new tradition of 'birthdays without boyfriends' which Tara and Willow approve off. Spike paints his nails. When looking for Dawn Buffy and Spike patrol together for the first time.

    More Glory-Buffy-Dawn; Glory changes in front of Dawn. She wonders if Ben is being 'naughty' with Dawn? (Yeesh! But she is a hellgod so we shouldn't be suprised). She strokes Dawn's hair (in the same way Joyce and Buffy do) but then spanks her breasts and hauls her away. She also refers to Dawn as a 'fox' and 'sugar and spice' and asks if Ben was giving her a look at 'Glory's unmentionables'? She likes Buffy's shoes. She refers to Spike as Buffy's boyfriend which she's almost too quick to deny.



    Guantanamo Bay;

    Glory tortures the Knight



    Scoobies to the ER;

    Buffy get's stabbed with the crowbar but seem ok.



    Apocalypses; 5,



    Scoobies in bondage:

    Buffy: 8

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 5

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 4

    Oz: 1

    Faith: 3

    Joyce: 1

    Wes: 1

    Xander; 1

    Dawn; 1



    Scoobies knocked out:

    Buffy: 16

    Giles: 10

    Cordy: 6

    Xander: 8

    Will: 5

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 6

    Oz: 3

    Faith: 1

    Joyce: 3

    Wes: 1

    Anya;1



    Kills:

    Buffy: 94 vamps, 32 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot

    Giles: 5 vamps, 1 demon

    Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon

    Will: 6 vamps

    Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human

    Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie

    Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans

    Xander: 5 vamps, 2 zombies, a demon, a demon

    Anya: a demon

    Riley; 18 vamps + 7 demons



    Scoobies go evil:

    Giles: 1

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 1

    Oz: 1

    Joyce: 1

    Xander: 3



    Alternate scoobies:

    Buffy: 6

    Giles: 3

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 2

    Joyce: 2

    Xander: 3



    Recurring characters killed: 9

    Jesse, Flutie, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Snyder, Professor Walsh, Forrest, McNamara



    Sunnydale deaths; the poor security guard, they're Buffy's equivalent of Star Treks redshirts

    90;



    Total number of scoobies: 6

    Giles, Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Tara,



    Xander demon magnet: 5(6?)

    Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?), Dracula?



    Scoobies shot:

    Giles: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 4

    Riley; 1



    Notches on Scooby bedpost:

    Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny and 3xDraccy babes?

    Cordy: 1?

    Buffy: 3 confirmed; Angel, Parker,Riley, 1 possible, Dracula(?)

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    Joyce: 1;Giles, 2 possible, Ted and Dracula(?)

    Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca

    Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley

    Xander: 2; Faith, Anya

    Willow: 2;Oz and Tara

    Riley; 3; Buffy, Sandy and unnamed vampwhore



    Questions and observations;

    Another disasterous Buffy birthday, if I was her I'd just stay in bed all day when it comes around. Also the beginning of the Spike/Dawn relationship. The Scoobs finally learn the truth about Dawn. So who are the other Hellgods from Glory's dimension? WR&H? Why not just pack Dawn off to Europe so that Glory can't find her? Or will Glory's minions/The Knights track her mystically?

    The Knights can easily beat Glory's minions but are not match for herself. Dawn has a photo from her and Buffy's holiday with their dad, the monks really do a full service job. The chocs Spike brings Buffy are the same ones he bashed the mannequin over the head with, cheap and stalkery! Dawn's burglary of the Magic Shop foretells her shoplifting. Dawn has been around for 6 months, suggesting she was also about for Buffy vs Dracula etc? The 'Urn of Ishtar', wasn't that a Dustin Hoffman movie? Introduction of Dawn's catchphrase, 'Get out'. The scene with little Buffy and little Dawnie on the swing is especially moving. Giles warns Willow of the dangers of magic.

    Marks out of 10; 7/10 the Key storyline really getting going.

  • Blood Ties

    10
    Blood Ties was another perfect episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is one of my favorite episodes because we get to see more of Glory, and now knowing what she really is makes her scenes all the more enjoyable to watch. I think that her history and background are very intriguing and interesting, I hope we get to learn even more. There was also a lot of character development in this episode, especially for Dawn who finds out what she really is. I like the scene were Glory's minions were fighting the Knights of Byzantium, and Glory comes to join in saving her last minion as the knight asks if he should now test his faith before killing him. I also thought it was cool how Willow and Tara used magic to teleport Glory, and Willow almost passed out, probably because of Glory's power related to the spell, which makes it even more realistic. I think that the writers really did a great job, as did the actors and director of this episode.
  • Season 5, Episode 13.

    10
    After learning that Glory is a god, Buffy finally tells her friends that Dawn is the Key. When everyone acts weird around her, she remembers how crazy people always act weird around her, so she goes to he mental ward at the hospital for answers.

    I liked this episode. Buffy turns 20! :) Very interesting episode with Buffy confessing that Dawn is the Key. It was definitely a good plot, and I liked watching Dawn study information on the Key. She finally realizes that she is the Key! :) Good episode indeed. Dawn cuts herself and didn't know if it was blood or not! OMG! Dawn is really only six months old! Great episode!
  • Another brilliant episode; the truth is finally revealed in an emotional and shocking fashion.

    9.5
    Blood Ties is another fantastic episode of the outstanding Season 5 and the main arc continues to get bigger and more and more tense as the entire gang finds the truth out about Dawn and Dawn herself finds out the truth of her own origins.

    As a massive fan of Season 5's arc, I was always going to love this episode. I loved the Dawn scenes, the reveal about Glory and just everything about it. The season has been building up to this moment; where Dawn finds out she is The Key and it doesn't disappoint. Michelle Trachtenberg was the star of the show here and outacted the entire cast, which is impressive considering she was only 15 years old at the time. You could really relate to and feel Dawn's pain and (screeching scenes aside) you felt for her.

    The scene where Dawn finds out and slashes her wrists is very shocking and done fantastically. The normal conversation between Buffy, Willow and Tara beforehand and Tara's face as soon as she saw Dawn was just amazing. Dawn's words were heartbreaking "Am I real? Am I anything?". Michelle was truly outstanding here and I'm glad she's getting roles on Gossip Girl and other shows these days.

    The reveal that Ben and Glory were one entity was very shocking the first time I seen it. We knew Ben had some involvement with her but the scene where the change happens was genuinely a wow moment. Only problem was that Charlie Weber who plays Ben was quite awful. His hands were moving all over the place and he just seemed really awkward and uncomfortable. He doesn't seem like a great actor and really just reminds me of Marc Blucas which isn't really a good thing.

    Glory was delightful here; funny yet menacing at the end. The fight scene only helped to increase her aura of power and I just loved it when she said Buffy had really nice shoes and got kicked in the face with them as a reward. Willow's teleportation spell worked well and set up the episode later in the season where Willow magically assaults Glory (go Willow!).

    Anya and Spike added a lot of humour here. Spike had all the best line "Sneaking out to watch Tellytubbies with your mates?" was hilarious. Anya's lines themselves weren't great but Emma Caulfield managed to make them wonderful with her perfect delivery and timing.

    Blood Ties is an excellent episode and one that should not be overlooked. It is well written and brilliantly acted.
  • Cute episode about Buffy and Dawn

    10
    As much as I dislike Dawn, I may say this episode was extremely cute.

    I was excited to see when Dawn would find out she is the key and I am glad how it happened.

    Actually the beginning of this season I didnt really like, i thought it was going too slow and without any mystery.

    But I guess this episode was the key to start really rocking.

    I guess the whole relationship Dawn - Buffy will really start now and finally Dawn character will appear, cause until now she was only the annoying sister.

    Lovely end, especially with the blood link, I guess that made many people to cry
  • I'm Not Real?

    9.0
    Blood Ties-Buffy finally tells her friends that Dawn is the Key and they start acting weird around Dawn, which leads to her seeking answers. She has seen that crazy people know that she is different, so she goes to the mental ward at the hospital for some answers.

    A very emotional and family centered episode as Buffy's friends, not to mention Dawn herself find out the truth about Dawn being the key. Everyone's reaction ranges from reasonablly awkward with Willow and Tara not knowing what to say around Dawn to uncomfortablly hilarity as Xander shows Dawn too much affection and Anya blirting out things like "You're a very pretty girl!" But the most significant reaction is when Dawn finds out that she is the key. Michelle Trachtenberg gives probably her best performance on the series as she convincingly portrays Dawn overwhelming pain when she finds out her whole life is a lie. Ever scene she excels and one of the only episodes that Dawn could get away with her "wahhh not one likes me" attitude that went into over kill in Season 6. Dawn's anger and frustration are justified here and you can't help but feel sorry for her throughout. The family dynamic is written beautifully in this episode, especially when Joyce and Buffy find themselves helpless to connect with Dawn again. The hospital scenes are also great and the reveal with Ben turning into Glory is quite creepy. You also gotta love the fight scene as well with Glory calling Spike Buffy's boyfriend and her losing it during the fight and then there was Willow teleporting Glory above Sunnydale then seeing her falling out of the sky. But the most touching scene is the ending as Buffy explains to Dawn that she is her sister no matter what and that they share the same blood. It's a stunning scene as Buffy matures as does Dawn as their bond as sisters becomes stronger. All and All, "Blood Ties" is a excellent episode with touching scenes, shocking developments and great performances, especially from Michelle Trachtenbarg, who often doesn't get enough credit from fans who loathe Dawn.
  • Dawn the whiny brat

    8.1
    I liked that Buffy and Giles finally let the Scoobies know that Dawn was the key, but I liked that the reason they were keeping the secret from them too. Buffy and Giles both thought that if everyone else knew that Dawn was the key they would act strange around her and they were very right. It was amusing however to see Anya trying to play everything off by saying that she and Xander were talking about sex because that's all Anya seems to care about, so as such it was amusing. Seeing Dawn sneak out of the house after everyone was acting weird around her was great. It was cool that she ran into Spike when she was climbing out of her bedroom window. I really enjoyed seeing Spike and Dawn sort of bonding. It was really just cool to see Spike help her break into the magic box. It was great to see Anya after Dawn had found out finding the ash in one of the items at the shop. I loved Buffy beating on Spike for helping Dawn find out after too. I found it to be enjoyable to watch Dawn after she took off the second time. It was nice to see her trying to learn more about the key from Glory. The two of them talking about the key and how long it had been around and all was interesting. I liked seeing Dawn freak out with Ben before that too. I was cool though to see that Ben was Glory.

    The best part of this episode was the end of it. The spell Willow and Tara did to teleport Glory was brilliant I loved that one of the kinks Willow mentioned was that they didn't know where she was going. Spike was amusing when he was telling Buffy that he thought she'd said Glory was tough and then she knocked him out! I loved hearing Glory talk about killing them all too.

    This was a decent episode but Dawn was too whiny. I know that she had to deal with a lot of stuff being thrown at her but she was just such a whiny little brat about it which made some of the story look worse.
  • Buffy finally tells the gang the truth about Dawn, who also seeks out the truth herself.

    6.5
    After finally telling the gang the truth about what Dawn really is Dawn herself starts picking up on how differenet everyone is acting around her. Seeking answers she, with Spike, breaks into the magic box in search of a joural belonging to Giles. As she reads she begins to remember things that at the time seemed strange but not make as she discovers the truth of what she is, the key. Confronting Buffy and her mother about Dawn is more then upset and unable to accept or undestand the truth. Seeking answers still she goes to the hospitals mental ward, hoping that the crazy people can help (as they can see what she really is, which she learned from the journal). She meets one of the nights of hack-and-lash that Glory brainsucked and he scares her off, straight to Ben.
  • "She’s not real, we’re not her family, we don’t even know what she is" - Buffy

    9.0
    After learning what the Council knows about Glory (“all we have to worry about is that she’s immortal, invulnerable and insane”), Willow and Tara create a spell that will spring an alarm should Glory try to get into the Summers residence or the Magic Box. Such a pity Giles didn’t get a non-mystical alarm system or even a lock for his drawer. Still, at least Buffy has stopped having meetings with Giles and Joyce about Dawn at the house. The gang gather at the Magic Shop and, as they discuss Glory (she was cast out of her world and she brain-sucks to keep her own mental status stable - yep, you would do well to look worried, Tara), Buffy tells them about Dawn. For Buffy’s birthday, Dawn gives her sister a photoshopped picture with photoshopped memories from their childhood and Buffy is moved by this; the sisterly affection the light before the upcoming family dysfunction dark. Buffy is now 20, she has left teenagehood behind, she is the adult in this episode. She is the one, not Giles, who decides to tell the gang and she advises Joyce what to do re: Dawn’s outbursts. However, we see some of the slayer stubbornness that Buffy exhibits in S7 when she becomes wholly a fighter rather than a person. Joyce tells Buffy that Dawn needs her big sister but the Slayer says Dawn needs time alone and for Buffy to discover the key’s origin and purpose. (Un)fortunately for Buffy, Dawn does this all by herself. Dawn may not be human, but she displays the same attributes that Buffy herself possesses. Her curiosity and awareness give her the first hint that something is not quite right. Buffy complained that everyone coddles baby Dawn, but since she found out that Dawn is the key, she has done the same, over-protecting her and not letting her in on secrets. Even Spike thinks they should have told her the truth. At the same time, Buffy underestimates Dawn, talking about her when she is in the house, not comprehending the level of her resourcefulness – another trait she shares with Buffy when she enlists Spike in her burglary of the Magic Shop. Her fearlessness is also portrayed when she takes the piss out of (a suspiciously suntanned) Spike (“Come on, I’m badder than you are”) who is on his way to give Buffy the bent box of chocs from Triangle. Nice continuity – along with Xander’s still healing arm and Dreg’s black eye from Ben. Dawn is clever too: as the latter day Bonny and Clyde raid the shop, she works out from Giles’s diary that she is the key even before Spike has clarified it. Returning to the house, she throws a pubescent tantrum, in which she smashes up her teenage bedroom (she’s not a teen) and rips up her diary (she didn’t write it) which, as ever on Buffy TVS, has a mirror in the real world in that the situation is analogous to adoption (Joyce: “We thought it’d be better if we waited until you were older”) and also of teenage alienation. Dawn thinks that Joyce and Buffy only care about her because she’s the key and are obliged to protect her, like a teenager accuses her parents of only caring because they have to. Like a self-harmer, she cuts her arm, asking: “Is this blood?” – she wants to know that she is human, which echoes the Merchant of Venice when Shylock, also wanting to prove that he is a person, asks “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” Dawn, remaining practical despite her emotional storm, goes to find out from the only people who know that she is the key: the hospitalised mental patients. The knight that Glory brain-sucked tells Dawn what she wants to know, that she is: “the destroyer!” Cute Intern Ben is around to offer insight and again hint at Glory’s relation to him: “I have a sister too,” before morphing into her. This episode moves the plot along quite quickly, the gang know about the key, Dawn knows, Ben knows, and the audience discovers that Ben and Glory are the same, without them knowing each other’s thoughts, and we see that anyone who sees them change doesn’t remember (really, Ben should throw out Glory’s clothes from his locker). Quick-witted, Dawn doesn’t give anything away to Glory whilst trying to find out about the key, “a bright green swirly shimmer”, that may be evil, maybe not. Glory shows her stupidity by not realising who/what Dawn is, ruminating about Ben: “It’s complicated. Family always is, isn’t it?” Not, however, when Buffy comes to rescue Dawn, throwing herself in front of a crowbar to save Dawn (foreshadowing?), but Dawn still isn’t impressed and it’s only when Buffy stops being the slayer and starts being the sister, rubbing her blood in with Dawn’s, that she softens. They are blood-siblings, literally, figuratively. “It’s just like mine,” Buffy says of Dawn’s blood, which is both true and comforting for Dawn, as well as being an important plot point for the second half of the season.
  • Dawn discovers the secret that Buffy's hidden from her and makes things worse for everyone by running off.

    7.8
    A good story that finally lifts the protective veil from Dawn regarding her own nature. I thought Michelle handled her scenes following this devastating news really well, especially that quiet moment when she's holding the bloody knife and trying to convince everyone that she really is human. The scenes between Buffy and Dawn bonding as sisters were also really well done and you could feel the familial love between these two girls.

    A real highlight though were the scenes with Spike and Dawn. These two have wonderful chemistry and the facial gestures on Michelle's face when Spike is warning Dawn about the dangers that she might run into when she goes to run away are priceless. It's a sweet scene and both actors do a terrific job with it.

    We also manage to learn a new wrinkle with the Ben/Glory situation when Dawn sees one transform into the other. Unfortunately, she promptly forgets this crucial information. Glory's arc continues to move forward and we discover that Glory doesn't remember anything that happens while Ben is in charge. Ben himself, however, does know that Dawn is Glory's Key...what this will mean, only future episodes can say (not much...just like everything with Ben).
  • Identity Crisis

    9.1
    This episode revolves around Dawn and it's a emotional rollar coster episode where I actually found myself feeling a heavy sense of pathos for Dawn.

    When Dawn finds out the truth about herself, she has an emotional crisis where we at first see her become rather self destructive from a rather disturbing and painful scene where we see Dawn has slightly mutilated herself and keeps saying is she real. Michelle's performace of emotional breakdown is great, when she talked in that scense she displayed emotional pain well, we see from her eyes she is so numb and consumed with pain that we see from her quivering mouth words were just stuggling to come out of her. And we even see varation in vocal volume from the bed room scene when Buffy and Joyce come into the room to talk and confort her it does no good and she says get out painfully loud, it can almost ring a viewers ears. This episode was obviously metaphor for the dark discovery about finding out your adopted and we see from Dawn's frustration, anger, and sadness the motions gone though in finding ones identity and place. But also in a way it sort of gets at Philp K. Dick like concepts on identity, existance, and memories. All of the scoobies when confronted with the truth even Buffy begin to realize all of their memories of Dawn are fake, and yet they feel very real. They also begin to wonder whey they deeply care about a girl that normally doesn't exist, and yet she does. Even Dawn we see is frustrated in one scene know that all of the things that have happened in her past didn't happen as she is looking at all her journals, and yet they did. Despite the questions and doubts Buffy and the Scoobies care and love Dawn all the same no matter who she is or where she comes from. And it was great when we saw a cramped quartered fight scene where the gang all rallyed together to protect and save Dawn. Buffy's deep love for Dawn was demonstrated when we saw her get in the way of a projectile comeing toward Dawn. It didn't matter to her the fact Dawn didn't actually exist, she does to Buffy and the same goes for the Scoobies, all they knew were the love they felt for her and would strike down anyone that attempts to take her existance away.

    We see that memories are true, it only depends on how the individual feels about them, people are what they do and how they feel which gives them identity and existance.

    Dawn truely does exist and in a touching scene between Dawn and Buffy who have sort of a Blood Bonding, Buffy says, "Your blood is the same as mine, it's Summers blood." Buffy is right.
  • Dawn is devastated when she discovers she's not really Buffy's sister or Joyce's daughter. The Scoobies, most of whom are still dealing with the revelation themselves, don't know what to do to help her. Then Dawn runs away...into the arms of Glory.

    9.9
    When the producers of "Buffy" first toyed with the idea of adding a little sister character to the show, they imagined a girl of around 10 or 11. Watching "Blood Ties," it's very hard to imagine such a young actress dealing with such raw, unflinching material.

    While Michelle Trachtenberg's performance as Dawn so far on the season has been an impressively balanced mix of irritant and engima, this is the episode where she makes her bones on "Buffy." Trachtenberg does amazing things with her voice in "Blood Ties," shrieking and sobbing and most affectingly growling through gritted teeth as if she's so numb she can scarcely move her jaw. The rest of the cast have a difficult task as well; they have to appear sincerely sympathetic and yet at the same time entirely ineffective.

    Almost forgotten after Dawn's string of powerhouse scenes (breaking into the Magic Box with Spike, the unforgettable entrance with her gashed arm held limply out like a foreign object, the destruction of her room) is a pivotal climax that reveals the long-suspected truth about Glory and Ben and shows Willow crossing an unseen line in the development of her magic. This is the first time we've seen the whole group take on Glory at once and the chaotic, claustrophobic fight scene in the hospital is one of the year's most thrilling and the greatest indication we've yet seen of Glory's strength. And Glory is Ben, who knew? Well, I did. The character certainly wasn't serving any other purpose and the hints that have been dropped to this point are not terribly subtle. Still, the morph effect is a really neat way to have our suspicions confirmed.

    Of note in this episode is the developing relationship between Spike and Dawn. Part of Spike's kindness to the youngest Summers is motivated by his obsession with Buffy, but it's not entirely a put-on. Dawn is naive enough to find Spike's evil past exotic, and she is charmed by how he treats her pretty much the same as he treats everyone else. For his part Spike is flattered by Dawn's attentions. For all his outward cool, Spike's a lonely guy.

    The strength of this episode's themes, both literal and subtextual (Dawn's discovery is a metaphor for finding out you're adopted), seem to give the other elements a lift. The fight scenes are, as noted, terrific. Glory's dialogue and Clare Kramer's performance in her scene with Dawn is sharper than we've seen since she was first introduced in "No Place Like Home." "Blood Ties" is a terrific episode, to my mind the best of the season. While long stretches of the Glory/Key storyline are thematically murky and dramatically slack, this episode shoots daggers and wastes not a breath. Right up there with "Restless," "Hush," the musical, and a handful of others as the best episode of "Buffy" ever.
  • A good episode for the development of the Glory arc and for the development of Dawn. So, in that sense it is a pivitol episode, but as such, it is mostly a transitional episode.

    8.6
    Dawn's development is fun to get into. There is mystery in the story which you can only assume will culminate in the 5th season finale. Her wandering about and getting into trouble is frustrating but believable. The only problem with an episode like this one is that it doesn't have a solid beginning, middle and end. It is merely a tweener episode with some good back-story but not great episode cohesion. I suppose from a writing standpoint not every episode can have a great micro-shape, but for the most part the writing has handled it pretty well up to this point (post season 1).

    I think that the way in which Dawn finds out the truth was well done. The inclusion of Spike helped. Finding out the relationship between the doc and Glory was gratifying and Dawn's inquisition of Glory, although not all that believable, was also rewarding.

    overall a good and entertaining episode for the season story.
  • Dawn finally finds out she's the key. also we find out about Ben beeing Glory. this is another perfect season 5 episode. very sad and well written/acted. there wasn't a boring piece in it.

    10
    Blood Ties

    This is one of the most beautiful episodes of the season. Dawn finally discovers what she is and she brakes. she can't take it and leaves but finds out that Ben is Glory but forgets it later. The gang fights as a family and teleport Glory away.

    cut to the magic shop. The guys are talking about Glory and how they will be able to stop her. they know she sucks brains and that's why there are so many crazy people. They want to know what she wants with the key, but then Buffy tells they know where it is and it's time to tell them, there is something about Dawn. cut to The knights when they get attacked by Glory's minions but they loose, then comes Glory and kills them all but one.

    the credits start

    cut to Dawn going to the magic shop, everybody is doing weird around her. and then comes Giles and Buffy, Dawns sees Giles notebook. Dawn tells Buffy that Glory is prettier and Buffy says that Glory is evil and noway prettier. Dawn says that she didn't look that tough. cut to Glory and the Knight. he won't talk and she is all mad but he still has something she wants. she sucks his brain.

    cut to Buffy's birthday, Dawn gives her a picture of them in vacation, they all realise that it never happen and are sad for Dawn. Dawn doesn't get it. cut to later, Joyce, Buffy and Giles are talking about Dawn and she hears something but Buffy sees her and tells her to go back to the party. Dawn noticed that they all act weird around her. she gets all upset and asks why but they all say they don't. then Dawn says that she isn't able to hear and know anything so she will go upstairs or else she will be exposed to words.

    cut to Dawn in her room, she goes out her window and sees Spike outside. She says that she is badder than him and that she is going to the magic shop to steal some stuff. she is going with her because she asks for it. they come to the magic shop and open it. Dawn wants Giles' book. She finds it and reads about it. Only crazy people can see the key, Dawn remembers the two crazy men. also she reads that serpents can find the key, she remembers the big snake. then Spike continues to read and that the monks had to hide the key and made it human and they made it in a form of a sister. Dawn and Spike realise that it's Dawn.

    cut to Buffy talking to the gang and then Tara sees Dawn then cut into her. Buffy and Joyce go over to her and Dawn says if she's real, if she's anything and they hug her and then the gang leaves. cut to Buffy going over to Dawn. she asks how old she is. Joyce says she's 14 but then she asks when the monks did it. then they say six months ago, That really hurts Dawn and then she screams and tells them that they have to get out.

    cut to the magic shop, They don't understand how Dawn came there and Anya sees some cigarettes so they know it's Spike, Buffy goes over to him and kicks him. She says that Dawn shouldn't have had to find it out like that. Spike says that Buffy had to be more honest with Dawn. cut to Dawn in her room, Joyce goes over and sees that dawn is broken. Dawn says that Joyce is not her mother and she goes to school.

    cut to Ben in the hospital, he sees the knight and is worried, Jinx is there and tells him that Glory wants to know where the key is. Ben doesn't care because Glory can't lay a hand on him and everyone knows that. cut to Dawn very sad and she hears what Buffy says, that she isn't real and not her family. then Dawn goes crazy and tears her room apart. Joyce is mad at Buffy but Buffy says that's how Dawn feels. and the only thing Dawn needs now is to be alone. then they hear some serene, Buffy thinks that Glory is there but Joyce says it's not and they go upstairs and they find Dawn that burned some fire. Buffy's mad but Joyce says that Dawn is gone.

    cut to the magic shop, Buffy tells the gang that they need to find her. cut to Dawn walking outside and remembering things that actually were made up. cut to Giles and Xander. Xander is glad that Dawn has a crush on him but Giles ignores Xander. Buffy and Spike are walking, Spike says that she will find him. cut to Dawn going to the hospital, she goes to the crazy people and the Knight says that she's the key. Ben finds her and takes her to a place. he tells her that he has the same with his sister but she says that she's the one that doesn't exist and that the monks made her and then he understands that she's the key and tells her to run because she will come. Dawn doesn't understand and then Ben suddenly changes into Glory 'Hey, don't I know you'?

    Cut to Glory changing her clothes, a guard comes in and she brakes his neck. she asks about what Ben was doing and she wants to go to another place with her. cut to Buffy and the rest, they haven't find her but then they realised that she might have gone to the hospital. cut to Glory and Dawn in another place. She asks Dawn if she knows where the key is and Dawn asks how does it look like and asks all kinds of questions. but Glory then realise that Dawn may not know anything and then Glory starts to get a little insane so she knows what she has to do to Dawn, drain her brain.

    but then the gang walk in and start to fight Glory, but she's too strong and knocks Spike, Xander and Giles out. she hits Buffy and she wants to kill someone and starts with the whelp but Buffy jumps and it hits her. then Willow and Tara do a spell on Glory and they teleport her away. It's hard on Willow and she bleeds. then Buffy goes to Dawn and says that she is her sister. it's summers blood because Dawn was made out of Buffy and they hold hands (beautiful scene) Dawn tells her about Ben that he was there but she forgot, she can't remember and they hug and leave.

    black out

    ----------
    Best episode quotes:

    Buffy: Okay, so, we know where Glory's from. What do we know about her? You know, she's tough, yeah, but, but no bolts of lightning, no blasts of fire, shouldn't a god be able to do that kind of stuff?
    Giles: Uh, usually, yes, but um, being in human form must be severely limiting her powers. All we have to worry about right now is she's immortal, invulnerable, and insane.
    Xander: A crazy hellgod? And the fun just keeps on leaving.
    Giles: From what I've been able to gather, her living in this world is ... seriously affecting her mental state as well. She's only being able to keep her mind intact by, uh, extracting energy from us. Well, from, from the human brain.
    Tara: She, she, she's a brain-sucker?
    Giles: She, um ... "absorbs the energies that bind the human mind into a cohesive whole." Once drained, all that's left behind is, uh-
    Buffy: Crazy people.
    Giles: Which is, I'm afraid, why there's been a marked increase in the ranks of the mentally unstable here in Sunnydale.
    Tara: At least vampires just kill you.
    Buffy: We have to find a way to stop her.
    Willow: Oh, well, Tara and I can work on some tactical spells.
    Anya: I can do some research. I know way more about demon dimensions than Giles does … Well, I do.
    Xander: This is great long-term plan-y stuff, but what about this ... key thingy Glory's looking for?
    Buffy and Giles both standing, sipping tea, exchanging a look.
    Tara: Yeah, I mean, shouldn't we be trying to find it before she does?
    Buffy: I don't think that's what we should be worrying about right now.
    Willow: They've got a point. Whatever Glory's planning on opening with the key, I'm guessing it won't be filled with candy and flowers.
    Xander: So where should we start looking? Do we know where it used to be kept? Who saw it last?
    Buffy: We did. Giles and me. We, we know where it is.
    Xander: You what?
    Willow: You know, and you didn't tell us?
    Giles: There were ... reasons.
    Buffy: Look, i-if Glory knew that you guys knew where it was, I ... I-I just didn't wanna put you in that kind of danger.
    Xander: As opposed to the other kind we're always in?
    Willow: You should have said something.
    Buffy: Will, there- You're right. It's time.
    Giles: Are you sure?
    Buffy: If they're gonna be risking their lives, they deserve to know.
    Xander: Know what?
    Buffy: There's something that you need to know ... about Dawn.

    Glory: Never send a minion to do a god's work.

    Glory: Hey, nice sword. Bet it hurts.

    Dawn: Hey. We on the case?
    Xander: Yeah. Right on top, perched, ready for action. How's my sweet fancy Dawn doing?
    Dawn: Fine. What's up with you? Did you get into the sugar again?
    Anya: You make a very pretty little girl!
    Xander: Anya, you wanna help me with that thing?
    Anya: Xander needs help with his thing!

    Buffy: How was school today?
    Dawn: Um, the usual. Big square building filled with boredom and despair.
    Buffy: Just how I remember it. So, what's the homework sitch?
    Dawn: We have to imagine what we'll be like ten years from now and write a letter to our future self. The teacher's clearly so out of ideas. Wanna help?
    Buffy: Maybe later. I have some stuff I have to do first.
    Dawn: Is it about that weird girl that came to the house?
    Buffy: Glory. And no it's not.
    Dawn: Like you'd tell me anyway. Dawn's too young and Dawn's too delicate.
    Buffy: Right. A young delicate pain in my butt.
    Dawn: I just think you're freakin' out 'cause you have to fight someone prettier than you. That is the case, right?
    Buffy: Glory is evil. And powerful. And in no way prettier than me.
    Dawn: I just think you're getting soft in your advanced age. She didn't look that tough to me.

    Glory: Okay. One more time. Just between me and you. Our itsy-bitsy little secret. Where ... is ... the key?
    Orlando: Even if I knew, I'd die a thousand deaths before I'd tell you.
    Glory: Well, you won't need a thousand, sweetie. I'll make the first one last. Long time. What is it with you religious types? It's intimacy, isn't it?

    Buffy: Prezzies! .
    Willow: See, just what you needed.
    Buffy: You are very, very wise. Now gimme, gimme, gimme!
    Anya: This is extremely suspenseful! I want the presents.
    Buffy: Ohh ... it's beautiful. Thank you, guys.
    Tara: Well, we thought you'd get lots of crossbows, other killy stuff.
    Willow: Yeah, so we figured, less killy, more frilly.
    Anya: Gotta look. Oh, it's just so lovely! Oh, I wish it was mine! Oh, like you weren't all thinking the same thing.
    Giles: I'm fairly certain I wasn't. I've got one just like it.
    Dawn: Here. Open mine.
    Buffy: It's not gonna explode, is it?
    Dawn: It's when we visited Dad that summer in San Diego. Um, I put the shells on it myself. We picked them off the beach.
    Buffy: I remember.
    Dawn: Well, geez, don't get all movie-of-the-week. I was just too cheap to buy a real present.

    Dawn: Why does everybody start acting all weird when I'm around?
    Xander: Me? Me not weird.
    Dawn: I'm not an idiot. I know you're talking about me.
    Xander: No, no, we really weren't.
    Anya: We were talking about sex.
    Dawn: They were talking about me, just like everybody is.
    Xander: Again, not so much. In fact, none.
    Anya: We were talking about sex. I mean, you know us, sometimes we like to pretend stuff-
    Joyce: Um...
    Xander: Anya!
    Anya: You know, like, say there's a fireman, or a shepherd-
    Buffy: You know what? Let's not have this exchange of images right now.
    Dawn: Oh. Right. Of course. Can't let Dawn hear anything. Fine. I'm just gonna go to bed. That way I won't accidentally get exposed to, like, words.
    Willow: Cake?

    Dawn: Geez! Lurk much?
    Spike: I wasn't lurking. I was standing about. It's a whole different vibe.
    Dawn: What is- Are you giving Buffy a birthday present? Oh my god. Weird. And chocolates? Lame. And the box is all bent, and, well, you know she'd never touch anything from you anyway.
    Spike: Shouldn't you be tucked away in your beddy-bye? All warm and safe where nothing can eat you?
    Dawn: Is that supposed to scare me?
    Spike: tremble wouldn't hurt.
    Dawn: Sorry, it's just ... come on. I'm badder than you.
    Spike: Are not!
    Dawn: Am too. You're standing in the bushes hugging a bent box of chocolates, and I'm-
    Spike: What? Sneaking out to braid hair and watch Teletubbies with your mates?
    Dawn: No. I'm breaking into the magic shop ... to steal things.
    Spike: Magic shop, eh? All number of beasties between here and there. Bet they'd really go for a little red riding hood like you. Bet that wouldn't sit too well with big sister.
    Dawn: I can take care of myself … You wanna come steal some stuff?
    Spike: Yeah, all right.

    Spike: "The monks possessed the ability to transform energy, bend reality." Blah, blah, blah. Good lord, Giles writes as dull as he talks, doesn't he? "They started work. But the Council ... has suggested ... to us that they were interrupted. Presumably by ... Glory. They obviously did manage to accomplish the taste ... accomplish the task. They had to be certain the Slayer would protect it with her life. So they sent the key to her ... in human form. In the form of a sister." Huh! I guess that's you, nibblet.

    Dawn: Is this blood?
    Buffy: Dawn!
    Joyce: Oh, baby.
    Buffy: What did you do?!
    Dawn: This is blood, isn't it? It can't be me. I'm not a key. I'm not a thing.
    Joyce: Oh, sweetie, no. Wha-what is this all about?
    Dawn: What am I? Am I real? Am I anything?

    Dawn: Why didn't you tell me?
    Buffy: We were going to. It just...
    Joyce: We thought it would be better if we waited until you were older.
    Dawn: How old am I now?
    Joyce: You're fourteen, sweetheart, you know that.
    Dawn: No. The monks. When did ... when did they ...
    Buffy: Six months ago.
    Dawn: I've only been alive for six months, huh?
    Joyce: Honey, you've been alive a lot longer than that to us.
    Dawn: You don't know that! You don't know anything. I'm, I'm just a key, right? Everything about me is made up.
    Buffy: Dawn ... Mom and I know what we feel. I know I care about you. I know that I worry about you-
    Dawn: You worry about me because you have to. I'm your job. Protect the key, right?
    Buffy: I worry because my sister is cutting herself!
    Dawn: Yeah? How do you know? Maybe this is just another fake memory from my fake family.
    Joyce: Sweetheart-
    Dawn: Get out.
    Buffy: Dawn...
    Dawn: Get out, get out, get out!

    Buffy: How could you let her find out like that? From books and papers? You hate me that much?
    Spike: I was just along for the ride. Not like I knew she was mystical glowy key thing. Nobody keeps me in the bloody loop, do they?
    Buffy: You could have stopped her.
    Spike: Oh, yeah, here it comes. Something goes wrong in your life, blame Spike. News flash, blondie. If kid sis wants to grab a midnight stroll, she'll find a way sooner or later. I just thought she'd be safer with big bad looking over her shoulder.
    Buffy: She shouldn't have found out like that.
    Spike: You didn't think you could keep the truth from her forever, did you? 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.

    Joyce: Honey? You're gonna be late for school.
    Dawn: I'm not going. Blobs of energy don't need an education.
    Joyce: You want me to make you some soup? I think there's some chicken and stars...
    Dawn: I'm not sick! I'm not anything.
    Joyce: Honey, calm down, okay...
    Dawn: Don't tell me what to do. You're not my mother. I changed my mind. I'd rather be at school.

    Jinx: The Knights of Byzantium are like ants. First you see one, then two, then the picnic's ruined. No matter how many we kill, they'll keep coming ... wave after wave. It's time to set old animosities aside. Your fate is directly linked to her magnificently-scented Glorificus. She's been extremely forgiving of your considerable foibles up until now, but if you persist in your defiance, she'll be forced to-
    Ben: To what? What is she going to do? Send a six-pack of minions to bore me to death? Glory can't lay a finger on me. You know it, I know it, she knows it. So save the threats, or I'll finish the job I started on your head.

    Buffy: We're not gonna be able to fix this with a hug and a kiss and a bowl of soup! Dawn needs to know where she came from, she needs real answers.
    Joyce: What she needs is her sister, Buffy, not the Slayer.
    Buffy: The Slayer is the only thing standing between Dawn ... and this god from the bitch dimension that wants to shove her in some kind of lock and give her a good twirl.

    Spike: The nibblet scampered off to get away from you. She hears you bellowing, she's gonna pack it in the opposite direction. Can't say I blame her.
    Buffy: You were right. This is my fault. I should have told her.
    Spike: Look, she probably would have skipped off anyway, even if she never found out. She's not just a blob of energy, she's also a fourteen-year-old hormone bomb. Which one's screwing her up more right now, spin the bloody wheel. You'll find her, just in the nick of time, that's what you hero types do.

    Ben: Two steaming cups of chocolate goodness courtesy of ... whoever I swiped it from out of the cupboard. Couldn't find any marshmallows. I'll try to steal some for next time.
    Dawn: Don't like 'em anyway.
    Ben: What? Is that even possible?
    Dawn: Too squishy. When I was five, Buffy told me they were monkey brains, and I-
    Ben: Dawn, was your mom brought back in? Is that why you're here?
    Dawn: No. My mom's just fine.
    Ben: Is there anybody I can call? Your sister?
    Dawn: I don't have a sister.
    Ben: Oh ... you two have a fight? It's okay, I know how that goes. I got a sister too. They can be a real pain sometimes. I tell you, there've been a lot of nights I wish she didn't exist either.
    Dawn: It's not Buffy. It's me. I'm the one that doesn't exist.
    Ben: Look, I know it can feel that way sometimes, but when you're older-
    Dawn: No, you don't understand. It's not real. None of this. They made it.
    Ben: Dawn-
    Dawn: I'm nothing! I'm just a thing the monks made so Glory couldn't find me. I'm not real.
    Ben: You're the key?
    Dawn: How do you know about the key?
    Ben: Go! Before she finds you. Don't ask me how she knows, 'cause she always knows. Just go.
    Dawn: Wait! Calm down, just tell me-
    Ben: You don't understand, you're a kid. You stay, she'll find you. She finds you, she'll hurt you.
    Dawn: What's wrong with you?
    Ben: You're what she's been searching for. I am telling you, run. You don't know, you - Oh god. Oh god no, she's coming. I can feel it, you've gotta get out. No ... oh no, she's here! She's …
    Glory: … here!. Hey, don't I know you?

    Glory: You'd never make it. I'd rip out your spine before you got half a step. And those little legs? They wouldn't be much good without one of those. Would they, Dawnie? Now. What I'm trying to noodle, is what in the world was the Slayer's little sis doing here with gentle Ben?
    Dawn: Y-you don't remember?
    Glory: Remember what? You were talking to him, not me. Oh, he wasn't being naughty, was he?
    Guard: Excuse me, ma'am. This area's for hospital personnel-
    [Glory brakes his neck]
    Glory: Rude! I was talking! What do you say ... we find a nice place off the beaten where you and I can have a long uninterrupted chat.

    Glory: Okay. Small talk over. I'm in a bit of a crunch here, so let's cut right to the ooey gooey center. Your sister, the Slayer, has my key. It's mine, I want it. Do you know where she squirreled it away? There's ice cream and puppydogs in it for you if you start singin'.
    Dawn: I'm not sure. What does it look like?
    Glory: Well... the last time I caught a peep ... it was a bright green swirly shimmer. Really brought out the blue in my eyes. But then those sneaky little monks pulled an abracadabra, so now it could look like anything. You see the predicament I'm in.
    Dawn: Maybe...
    Glory: Yes?
    Dawn: Well, maybe if you ... told me more about it, I'd know if I've seen it.
    Glory: Okay.

    Dawn: So this ... key thing ... it's been around for a long time?
    Glory: Well, not as long as me, but ... yeah. Just this side of forever.
    Dawn: Is it evil?
    Glory: Totally! Well, no, not really. I guess it depends on your point of view.
    Dawn: What's it for? I mean ... if it's a key, there's gotta be a lock, right?
    Glory: Yes. We have a winner.
    Dawn: S-so what does it open?
    Glory: I smell a fox in my hen house. Is that why you've been playing sugar and spice with old Uncle Ben? Trying to get a peek at Glory's unmentionables?
    Dawn: No, I-
    Glory: Shh! I kinda wanna hear me talking right now. Me talking. You know what I'm starting to think? I'm thinking ... that maybe you ... don't have any idea where my key is. Very irritating. Irrational. Know what I mean, tiny snapdragon? Like ... bugs under my skin. And say, I'm feelin' a little...
    Dawn: What's wrong with you?
    Glory: Hey. Hey! This doesn't have to be a complete waste of my precious time. I've been meaning to send the Slayer a message. And I could use a little pick-me-up. Two birds, one stone, and Boom. You have yummy dead birds.
    Buffy: Get away from my sister.
    Glory: Hey, we were just talking about you.
    Buffy: Conversation's over, hell-bitch.

    Glory: He wakes up, tell your boyfriend to watch his mouth.
    Buffy: He is NOT my boyfriend.

    Buffy: Are you okay? Did she hurt you?
    Dawn: Why do you care?
    Buffy: Because I love you. You're my sister.
    Dawn: No I'm not.
    Buffy: Yes you are. Look, it's blood. It's Summers blood. It's just like mine. It doesn't matter where you came from, or, or how you got here. You are my sister. There's no way you could annoy me so much if you weren't.
    Dawn: I was so scared.
    Buffy: Me too. Come on.
    Dawn: Wait. Ben. He was here, he was trying to help me. He... I ... I think he might have left before Glory came ... I can't, I can't remember.
    Buffy: It's okay. Don't worry about it. Next time we see him, we'll thank him. I have to get you back home though. Mom's freaking out.
    Dawn: Oh. Is she mad about the whole fire thing?
    Buffy: I think you sorta have a get-out-of-jail-free card on account of big love and trauma.
    Dawn: Really? Okay. Good. You think she'd raise my allowance?
    Buffy: Don't push it.

    ----------
    Story: 10
    Acting: 10
    Writing: 10
    Picture: 10
    Gripping: 10
    My Rank: 10
    ----------
    Total: 10
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