Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 4 Episode 19

New Moon Rising

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM May 02, 2000 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (18)

out of 10
508 votes
  • New Moon Rising

    New Moon Rising was a perfectly classic episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer because it has a lot of important character development especially for Willow. In this episode we see the return of Oz, at a time not so convienent for Willow as she has moved on, and to a whole new field. When Oz finds out the truth he turns into a Wolf and gets captured by the Initiative, though when Riley finds out its Oz he does try to help. This created a complex scenario resulting from Willow and Tara's relationshiop, that brings all the characters stories together in some way. Willow finally reveals all her true feelings to Buffy, Oz, and Tara.
  • As Willow & Tara's friendship/relationship continues to evlove,Oz returns to Sunnydale to ask Willow to consider getting back together after explaining that the 'wolfy' is under control.

    I'll put my cards on the table from the outset & declare that this is my favourite episode,Tara my favourite character & the Willow/Tara relationship one of my all-time favourite television relationships.

    That declaration out of the way,there is much to like about this episode as Willow and Tara continue to grow closer,although I think that Tara fell head over heels in love with Willow after their initial encounter in 'Hush'.

    As far as plot development is concerned I guess it was neccesary that Oz return to tie up some loose ends & the writers are to be congratulated for the way they handled Oz's return & eventual departure.

    This is one of Amber Benson's strongest performances & she will continue to grow as an actor as Tara continues to grow as a character.

    As Willow & Tara's relationship blossoms it evolves into one of the more believable relationships on television,at the same time managing to distance itself from sensationalising a same-sex relationship.

    And the final scene between Willow & Tara? Simply perfect!
  • Oz comes back to Sunnydale just as Willow's life is picking up again. Also Buffy struggles with Riley's opinion on Will/Oz relationship. Spike also teams up with Adam.

    This episode is a very important episode, not only to the series but television as a whole. The scenes between Willow and Tara, especially the last one, were very groundbreaking. When the screen goes black we know what's going to happen, even though it wasn't outright spoken. The first time I watched it I was a bit shocked but I just saw it again, recently, and I wish they would've shown more. I love that Buffy is a great friend and accepts Willow's love with Tara. Buffy is a very supportive friend and I think in seeing Willow's strength through all that she's been through helps Buffy get the courage to come clean to Riley. It was also a very funny episode with the bickering between Anya and Giles. The episode played very well and was well written and groundbreaking.
  • Everyone grows and learns!

    This is a very special episode. Willow and Tara are heating up, then Oz comes back. The plot is thrilling and the drama is great. One of the best moments is when Willow comes in all sad to talk to Tara. This scene is so well played that it makes me cry every time! You can totaly get what's happening and torn between Oz and Tara. I personly pick Tara! The episode just gets better after the "Oz beinig cured, are they going to get back together", then when Oz sniffs the Willow on the Tara, things get interesting! New Moon Rising is a favorite of mine for it's drama and character achivement. The end with Willow and Tara is a pricless t.v. moment! This is a wonder to watch on television!
  • When Love dies. >>this is more of my rant & rave rather than a proper review


    Among all the episodes that came before this, this is actually the one i like the most. Buffy was quite incomplete without Angel. Now we see OZ leave permanently.

    In the beginning of the Episode Riley saw Oz as a dangerous type. But it kinda\' confuses me how he all of a sudden tried to save him from the initiative. I like his bold move though when he quitted from them army guys.

    THis episode was focused on WILLOW/OZ/Tara. I swear for some reason I do not like Tara. Not that i hate lezbians cause i dont. But i just dont see any chemistry with them on screen unlike with willow and oz. Wonder what the writers were thinking removing Oz out of this series? I mean Tara could\'ve stayed as The scooby\'s friend.

    Spike being a lil\' evil again is good. Seeing him all helpless wasnt so nice. WE also saw Buffy being defensive about the different types of Demons to Riley. She looked so stressed.

    So since im not doing a gret job of actually reviewing this ill cut my babbling. As usual great acting. THe storlyine was good. I really was soo affected how this all ended. i was soo sad. i cant believe Willow didnt choose Oz. oh well.

  • 'It turns out, the one thing that brings it out of me is you. Which falls under the heading of ironic in my book.'

    ‘New Moon Rising’ is the count down to the end of the season. It still feels like it’s going no where but I did like the main theme which makes it one of the season’s best episodes.

    I never liked Oz leaving and always hoped for this episode to happen, but when it did I was confused if I wanted him back with Willow or if I wanted Tara to be with Willow, this episode finally reveals their relationship officially.

    Oz is back and Tara knows that if he’d come back, Willow would get back together with him. They talk all night and he shows her that the moon doesn’t have effect on him like it used to have.

    Also Riley’s relationship gets put on proof again, both characters seemed a bit out of character. I do like their relationship but it’s far from as interesting as the Willow one. They fight because he says that demons are bad and Buffy gets winy and they end up making up and Buffy telling him something about her past.

    The best scene this episode was when Willow comes out to Buffy and tells her that everything is complicated because of Tara. Buffy acts a bit freaked out at first but soon gets it and understands it. She also tells Willow that she has to make the right decision and either way someone will get hurt.

    Oz has also noticed something odd about Tara, he smells Willow on her and soon comes to realise that they are involved. He can’t help but to turn into a werewolf and tries to kill her but is taken out by the military guys. When tests are done on him they discover that negative emotions can turns him, Riley sees it all and tries to make Oz free but he gets caught and it’s the end of the line for him as a soldier.

    What I really hated was the way they forced Spike on the audience now working with Adam and giving him a purpose for more screen time, I was far from impressed. He is the one that takes the scoobs to the initiative and there is where they save both Riley and Oz, Riley knows that he can’t ever come back and that he will be pursued.

    The episode ends with Oz leaving once again, he knows that Willow is the one that can turn him an he has to stay away from her, he also just wants her to be happy with Tara. Willow then goes back to Tara and promises to make it up to her and she blows out a candle.

    The episode was brilliantly done and begins the most tender and beautiful lesbian relationship on tv.

  • Some important stuff happens here, but only one thing is important: The final scene!

    You really have to love this episode, just because of the final scene! It’s just so sweet. They don’t really speak, except of the nasty sentence were Willow indicates what will come next.
    Well what happened else in this episode? Oz is back and leaves for ever, when he can’t stand that his former girlfriend has left him - for an other girl. So he goes “all wolfy” again, but gets caught by the initiative guys. So Riley has to make his final step to leave his past behind and move on with Buffy.
    I think that’s all that needs to be mentioned, but the final scene is one of the best scenes ever! Just go trough the lines again and feel the love:
    Willow: Tara, I have to tell you-
    Tara: No, I understand. You have to be with the person you l-love.
    Willow: I am
    Tara: You mean...?
    Willow: I mean. ... Okay?
    Tara: Oh yes
    Willow: I feel horrible about everything I've put you through and I'm going to make it up to you. Starting right now.
    Tara: Right now?
    (Willow nods and Tara blows out the candle)
  • "The one thing that brings it out is you" - Oz

    The wolf is back! And he’s been on a Tibetan anger management course. However, what he has come back for is no longer available - we now know that Tara and Willow’s relationship is not ambiguous; they are proper lesbians: they’re talking about getting a cat. That and the fact that Oz can smell Willow on Tara.

    This ep revisits themes brought up in Phases when Buffy et al confront the furrier/hunter regarding his belief that werewolves are just animals. This time it’s Riley who has the black and white viewpoint – “demons bad, humans good” - and he berates Willow for having gone out with a werewolf. “I didn’t think she was that kind of girl,” he opines, making a racial analogy. Buffy runs with this, pouting that she “never knew that [you] were such a bigot”. She is of course thinking about her relationship with Angel and it’s interesting that the fighters of hellmouth evil have all gone out with those from the netherworld, be they vamp, wolf or ex-demon.

    The Scoobies’ second loves have a lot to live up to: Angel, Oz and Faith were all spectacular in their way. We are shown clearly the difference between Oz and Tara when Willow says she’s just been in the “same old Sunnydale” whilst Oz has been travelling the world. Her love of Oz was always based on admiration and as a contrast, we see how Tara at her first Scooby meeting is patronised by Willow as she over-explains everything to her girlfriend. Joss et al go overboard in forcing us to be sympathetic to Tara as she is portrayed as the outsider and then “dumped” as Willow and Oz spend some quality time together. Tara, however, is prepared to let Willow go; her love is self-sacrificial and generous which contrasts with Oz’s possessive anger. In the end though, Oz can also let Willow go because he loves her and doesn’t want to hurt her. He may find it ironic that it is she who brings out the wolf (the sexual aggression) in him, but the larger irony is that after all the pain Willow felt when he left, she no longer yearns for Oz. You don’t get what you want ‘til you don’t want it anymore. Willow only brings out the confidence, power and selflessness in Tara - and Tara is no longer second best. There’s a sly political message here – lesbianism wasn’t an experiment until a man turned up: Tara is the true love, the soft feminine altruistic love, not the wild animal masculine love. And Oz and Willow say goodbye in the van, where their love began in S2 and ended 13 eps ago. But after all the pain, there’s a happy ending:– when Tara tells Willow that she should be with the one she loves, Willow replies: “I am.”

    Buffy and Xander are oblivious to the change in Willow, and Buffy is as wigged out by Willow’s new relationship as Riley was by her old boyfriend. Buffy’s awkward “That’s great, Will,” (whilst jumping off the bed) shows her embarrassment until her friendship kicks in and she is sincere with her friend.

    She, meanwhile has to come out too - to Riley re: Angel. Riley, like Willow, has had to make a choice, and like Tara he has to be heroic. His army training has made him “colourblind”, unable to see the greys, and it’s his fondness for Willow and (finally) respect for her previous love-choice that is the catalyst for him finally quitting the Initiative. His CO tells him that he could have gone “right to the top” in order to show us what Riley is sacrificing for a) love and b) his sense of right and wrong, rather than a notion of black and white. Colonel McNamara tells Riley that the Scoobs are “too backwards for the real world”, once again bringing up the theme of Magicks vs Science that is prevalent throughout Series 4. He calls Riley an “Anarchist”, with which Riley concurs as he punches out the Colonel and whilst he might have misunderstood the notion of anarchism, it’s interesting that it’s co-operative power and mutual aid magic (not Science) that beats Adam.

    Even Anya is a hero and a worthy Scooby-honey in this ep as she helps power down the Initiative bunker so Buffy can rescue Riley and Oz - except it was Adam who really did it, his screen time reduced to some unhilarious quips and his recruitment of Spike. We see that Adam is not, as Willow put it, like Martin Luther King, bringing the demon/vamp races together, but a Hitler, wanting a war between the assembled “Ayran” demons/vamps and the humans. Spike has wormed his way back into the Scoobies and found the plot device back door – to be continued next time…..
  • Oz is back to give Willow what she needs, but she's not sure she's the same person anymore.

    Wow, what a controversy this episode kicked up. And not for the reasons you'd think. No one (Buffy fans, anyway) cared about the lesbian sub-plot, what they were angry at was that Oz wasn't staying. They took it out on Amber in the beginning, acting like mean-spirited little twits.

    Well, for what its worth, I hated that Oz leaves again. I never disliked Tara though, and sure didn't blame the actress. Over time Tara becomes a beloved character too and I'm glad that this storyline occurred.

    Now... Oz comes back saying that he's learned to control the wolf and shows Willow by taking a tour of the campus under the full moon. In the meantime, Willow is struggling with the feelings she has for Oz and the new attraction she has for Tara. She ends up coming out to Buffy in a beautifully played scene between Aly and Sarah.

    Unfortunately, Oz loses his cool when he smell Willow all over Tara and puts the puzzle together. He ends up in Initiative custody and Riley burns his bridge with the military when he goes in to get him out.

    This is a strong episode dealing with a sensitive topic and beginning an ongoing gay relationship on Primetime. Thank you BTVS and its creative team. And, gee, despite what conservative American groups claimed Buffy's rating didn't suffer and it remained embraced by the show's fanbase. So... HAH!
  • Case of the Ex-Werewolf

    New Moon Rising-Tara and Willow's relationship seems to be progressing when Oz returns to town. Through his travels Oz has found a combination of charms, potions and meditation that allows him to avoid turning into a werewolf. When Oz discovers that Willow and Tara are more than friends, however, he loses control and the wolf is set free.

    Quite the underrated episode, "New Moon Rising" sees the writers delving back into some serious storylines after 2 sub-par episodes. Oz's return is really sudden and no only brings up emotions for Willow and the rest of the gang but viewers as well. Seth Green plays Oz's maturity since his depature so convincing and Alyson Hannigan just excels throughout as Willow is overwhelmed by Oz's return. What's more important is that Oz's return forces Willow to reveal the truth about her relationship with Tara, and it's one many didn't see coming. It's natural that during college, people start discovering sides of themselves, with sexuality being the biggest part. Willow's coming out scene to Buffy is one of the most daring and pivotal moments of the series. During a time where gay characters on tv were still relatively new, Willow's coming out was one of the most memorable. Amber Benson was also wonderful throughout as Tara fears losing Willow to Oz and is at her most uncomfortable. The highlight of the episode is Oz going in a rage after finding out Willow is in love with Tara. It's a tense scene with both Seth and Amber really selling that scene. I also love how the episode brings back the theme of their being a grey area in the demon world when Buffy is disgusted about his attitude toward all demons. It makes sense that Buffy would feel hurt considering her relationship with Angel and it's nice that finally Buffy revealed that part of her past to Riley by episode end. Riley really grows in this episode as he starts off seeing all demons as a threat, but realizing there are expections when he tries to save Oz after being captured by the Initiative. Riley becoming a fugitive with the Initiative after him provides for a nice development as well. The episode ends with 2 stunning scenes with Oz and Willow saying goodbye for good and Willow starting her new romantic relationship with Tara. Underrated by far, "New Moon Rising" is a great emotional drama that is a satisfying closer to Willow's old relationship as she begins a new chapter in her life.
  • Oz returns to Sunnydale to find an oddly conflicted Willow.

    This is an episode that just had to happen and it's pulled off pretty well. Tara and Oz meet and Willow has to decide now which way she wants to go: back to Oz or continue with Tara. Since Oz left Sunnydale a bit abruptly back in "Wild at Heart" there's been a lack of closure in his relationship with Willow, and this episode gives us that closure in a pretty satisfying way. It also manages to elevate Willow and Tara's relationship to a new level. Some other important bits happen as a result of Willow's conflict, including both Buffy and Riley coming to understand each other's point of view on demons. This leads to Buffy's not-so-complete disclosure of her relationship with Angel, which I say qualifies as an elevation in their relationship as well.

    It all begins when Willow brings Tara along to a Scooby meeting discussing Adam's whereabouts. In the middle of this, Oz appears in the doorway and shocks everyone. As soon as Tara hears that it's Oz she disappointingly says, and then Buffy looks over Willow's way with this questioned look on her face. Oz comes in and is very respectful towards Willow, not expecting anything right away. He walks in, politely asks her if they can chat later, and then heads out. I really liked this entire scene and felt Willow's confusion, like

    When they get together to 'chat' later, Oz takes her outside to show that it's a full moon, and he's not a wolf! Go Oz! Willow's reaction is really interesting though. At first she is absolutely thrilled and hugs him, but as Oz hold her she begins to notice it doesn't feel quite right anymore. She then backs off a bit and says, "it's wonderful for Willow isn't the same person she was when Oz left; a lot has happened including her separation from Buffy and the Scoobies, which coincides with her growing relationship with Tara.

    It turns out the reason Oz returned is because he thinks he has his wolfy nature under control now and can give Willow what she needs. Interesting side-note, it just hit me that Spike also left town to better himself for a girl -- interesting. After an evening of chatting in which Willow never reveals her feelings towards Tara, Oz feels like he's got a good shot at hooking up again with her. Tara comes to the door when Willow's in the bathroom, sees Oz there, and basically runs off. This makes Oz mighty curious for a few seconds but just dismisses the oddness, probably assuming that it's just Tara's personality.

    I am switching topics to Buffy for a bit because what her and Riley go through is connected to what's happening with Willow. While patrolling Riley begins expressing his observations of Oz's return. Buffy says, "The thing is before that, they were doing great. I mean, she was totally dealing with Oz being a Riley responds in a very surprised manner saying "Whoa, wait. Oz is a werewolf, and Willow was dating him!? ... You're kidding me. Gotta say I'm surprised. I didn't think Willow was that kind of girl ... Into dangerous guys. She seems smarter than These comments obviously tick Buffy off, because she knows that she's the kind of girl who gravitates towards "bad boys" and Riley's comments likely rub off as an indirect insult of her relationship with Angel, which Riley doesn't even know about yet. Buffy's response supports this theory, "Yeah, well love isn't logical, Riley. It's not like you can be Mister Joe Sensible about it all the time. God knows I haven't

    I can't help but be reminded of Spike's speech in "Lover's Walk", "Love isn't brains, children, it's blood, blood screaming inside you to work its This issue between Buffy and Riley brings out some very interesting discussion about the nature of demons. Buffy is so used to dealing with nicer demons that she's forgotten what it's like for someone finding it out for the first time. She was surprised when she initially found out that a vampire can be good in "Angel". It's safe to say she was 'thrown,' which is a word that is used in this episode.

    The next morning Buffy and Riley wake up together and she is angry at all things Riley because of his comment the previous night. This squabble feels very realistic to how a real couple would interact. Riley says, "Okay, I'm up less than a minute, and somehow I've managed to piss you Buffy tries to tell him that it isn't as simple as "Demons bad, people She even goes as far as saying "It's with different demons. There are creatures - vampires, for example -- that aren't evil at This is obviously a reference to Angel and is further evidence she was reminded of Angel when Riley made the comment about Willow.

    All of this discussion is a wonderful lead-in to when Buffy finds out Willow is in love with Tara. Buffy walks into her dorm to find Willow sitting on her bed. When asked by Willow if she's okay, Buffy doesn't want to chat and would rather redirect the conversation to Oz's return. In previous years Buffy was much more open with Willow -- things have definitely changed. Anyway, Willow is trying to explain to a confused Buffy why the situation is When Buffy still isn't "getting it," she sighs and says, "It's of Buffy amusingly responds with "You mean Tara has a crush on It's at this point when it finally sinks in.

    The reactions Buffy has is not surprising in the slightest. If my best friend announced he was seriously gay, I'd definitely back up a few steps myself. For one, it's simply a huge surprise. Additionally, I'd be concerned he thought I was hot in some way, which honestly would be a bit disturbing to me because I'm not homosexual. So when Buffy reacts exactly like I would, I can definitely understand what she's feeling. After the initial shock/confusion and backing away has passed, though, Buffy is more understanding, because she knows Willow is still her best friend.

    The problem now is that Willow is placed in an impossible situation of having to choose between Oz, who she still greatly cares about, and Tara, who is naturally trying to be supportive but is very obvious in showing how she feels. Willow says, "I don't wanna hurt anyone, Buffy's response is the hard truth: "No matter what, somebody's gonna get hurt. And the important thing is, you just have to be honest, or it's gonna be a lot This all leads to the Oz/Tara confrontation scene in the hallway. Oz smells Willow's sweater on Tara and finds out about their relationship even though Tara tries to keep out of everything. This entire situation gets Oz so flustered he starts to somehow transform into the wolf, chases Tara, then gets tagged by Riley and the Initiative because they think he's the demon that tore apart their group earlier in the episode.

    When getting very impatient waiting for confirmation about whether or not Oz was the demon that did the damage, Riley just pulls out his gun and decides to end it. At the exact time he does that Oz morphs back into a human and shocks the crap out of Riley, much like Buffy was shocked about Willow's confession. This, of course, leads to Riley throwing away his career with the Initiative to help Oz escape, which fails. Quick note: the Initiative is still annoying me and have become a plot device rather than an institution for interesting discussion, and this hurts all episodes they are in, including this one, a bit. Anyway, I like how when Buffy frees Riley from the brig he expresses a moment's concern that if he leaves now he won't be able to come back. Buffy's resulting static expression of "yeah, duh, what are you waiting is awesome.

    Both Buffy and Riley's separate experiences after having their initial fight have shaped them to be more open about the other partner's perspective. The way the Willow/Oz/Tara situation affects Buffy and Riley is simply brilliant writing. The two of them are hanging out at the ruins of Sunnydale High after their actions against the Initiative, when Riley admits he was being a bigot about the Oz situation. Buffy, though, in light of being 'thrown' herself by Willow's 'change' sees now that Riley was simply 'thrown' by the idea of good demons -- that the world they live in is one with shades of gray, especially when love is involved. In light of this new level of understanding, Buffy chooses this moment to begin telling Riley about her relationship with Angel. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful characterization! I love it!

    While all of this is happening, Adam pays a visit to Spike. A result of this communication is Spike offering help to Buffy because he thinks Adam will remove his chip. Adam also opens the doors into the Initiative for the Scoobies, which is pretty cool. The bad guy's helping the good guys without the good guys knowing it because it's all part of a larger scheme. Anyway, you've got to feel sad for Oz in this episode, because he came all the way back to Sunnydale hoping to reconnect with the girl he loves, only to find out that he has the same problem as when he left and that his girl now loves another girl. Oz makes it clear that he's not terribly at peace with the fact that Willow's in love with a girl now. This becomes clear when she says "I can't explain it" and Oz replies, "It may be safer for both of us if you

    This episode gives much better closure to their relationship than what we got in "Wild at Heart". The final scene between Willow and Tara was not only incredibly sweet, but very suggestive as well. Overall, this episode is extremely solid. It gives closure to the Willow/Oz relationship and beautifully sets up the Willow/Tara one. At the same time, a whole new level of trust and openness is gained between Buffy and Riley, who learn from the Willow/Tara/Oz situation. Great stuff!
  • A brilliant episode; the official ending of Willow/Oz and the official start of Willow/Tara.

    New Moon Rising is a fantastic episode that rounds off the romance of Willow and Oz and officially starts the romance of Willow and Tara. It is emotional and shocking all the way through.

    Oz coming back was good. I feel his story arc was naearly over in Wild at Heart and this episode was needed to really finish his storyline and his romance with Willow. It is nice to see Willow and Oz together for the last time, as even though I'm a Willow/Tara fan, I've always liked Willow/Oz as well. I thought they were just a nice, interesting relationship and nnot overly dramatic like some (Buffy/Angel) or boring like others (Buffy/Riley).

    I was very satisfied with how they ended the romance. It was all very believable; I understood that Willow still has a place in her heart for Oz but is not in love with him anymore and I felt her choosing Tara was a natural choice.

    I felt this episode had some really great scenes; the last scene between Willow and Oz was brilliantly written; sad and emotional. I love Willow saying she's sure they'll meet again; whether it's in Sunnydale or in Istanbul. It gave fans of Willow/Oz hope that they might reunite but didn't feel like an attempt to satisfy them in case of angry reactions from fans (e.g. Angel coming back in End of Days/Chosen and Buffy's annoying and irrelevant cookie dough speech).

    The Initiative scenes were good and furthered the main arc slightly. Spike being Adam's ally is a reminder that he's still evil and the scenes between them were OK- nothing special as I don't really care for the arc at all. Nevertheless, it didn't make the episode feel completely out of place.

    Riley finally did something that wasn't annoying OR boring- punching that annoying Colonel McNamara. That guy is so irritating and up himself. I look forward to watching his death in Primeval again. Willow coming out to Buffy was a really good scene. Buffy's initial weirdness about it but her acceptance and support of it immediately after sends out the right message to people in the same predicament. It really reminds us of the close bond between them.

    The last scene was so- for lack of a better word- cute! It was a little cheesy with Tara blowing out the candle but really made a nice start for their official relationship.

    New Moon Rising is an excellent episode and one that has sad endings and happy beginnings. It isn't one of my favourites but is still a really great episode and one not to be missed.
  • Oz is back but does Willow want him back?

    I really enjoyed the relationship between Tara and Willow in this episode especially since Oz was brought back into the picture. It was nice that Willow was taking Tara to the Scooby meeting and that before then they were just holding hands. Willow and Tara were just really cute.

    I absolutely hated Riley in this episode. It was so annoying how he was all on the path of humans good demons bad. I liked seeing that Buffy took that personally and got a little ticked with him. Riley finding out that the Werewolf the Initiative caught was Oz and trying to help him escape seemed like an act. It just seemed like he would do anything to get points with Buffy when he did that. It was nice to see them talking toward the end when they were in hiding about Buffy's past. Oz and Willow were incredible. I liked that they just talked through an entire night about what had happened in their lives while they were apart. I think that Willow should have mentioned Tara at least so that Oz wouldn't get all jealous the way that he did and wolf out.

    It was so nice that Willow finally admitted to Buffy that she and Tara had a thing. Buffy's reaction was priceless. It was nice to see her just a little freaked out but then become calming and supportive.

    Of course I loved the breaking into the Initiative part to rescue Oz and sadly Riley as well. It was obvious though that Spike was going to be approached by Adam, which was the reason Spike helped the Scoobies get inside. It was that Anya and Giles were working as the rest of the gang was going into the Initiative and I loved Anya and Giles high-fiving. It was very amusing to see Giles' look of huh? And then he suddenly understood.

    It was sad to see Oz leaving again at the end but it was for the best. And I obviously loved Willow and Tara getting together at the end. It was rather sweet to see them like that.

    This was a pretty good episode of Buffy but I really wanted to hit Riley a lot but that's normal!! =D
  • Willow, Tara and Oz

    Very nice episode.Oz is back, while only for this one episode, I was glad to see him again and I will miss him as a regular.
    Main plot aside (the "monster" plot in this episode is weak, the accent is on relationships between Willow, Oz and Tara) I can't really say that I liked what I saw.
    I never did understand why Willow was attracted to Tara.Tara has some kind of "stoner" personality and I simply don't see that kind of "special" connection between her and Willow, it looks so artificial.
    Well, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't really like Tara as a character in Buffy, especially not a regular one.
    It would be so much better if we could just have our good old Oz back.

    Just my couple of cents.
  • Oz Returns

    Oz returns to sunnydale, looking to restart things with Willow now that he has managed to keep the wolf within at bay. But things are not as he left them and are even more complicated if that is at all possible. Willow's new friend Tara is much more then a friend to her and they have begun to start something, though they aren't officially together yet. When Oz learns of this development he is unable to keep his inner monster at bay and the wolf comes out in him right in broad daylight. Unfortunately, this happens in just the wrong place. The college campus and the initiative bags him, bringing him down into their quarters for testing. Riley, risking everything, helps to rescue Oz and finally disassociates himself from the initiative once and for all. Thankfully, all are safe and unharmed. But not everything is so resolved, Oz and Willow have a good talk and discuss how it is no longer the right time for them to be with one another. It is not as though she had been sitting around waiting, though she was for some time. And Willow returns to Tara, to start something new. I really adore Tara and I was happy to see that she was going to stick around. Together they make such a sweet couple.
  • Sorry Oz, she's with Tara

    The Good;

    Oz is back and not before time, it's all wonderful. No matter how big a Tara fan you are you've got to adore the Willow/Oz goodbye scene

    The Bad;

    The werewolf makeup still stupid, thankfully the last time we'll see it.

    Best line;

    Riley; "No sir, I'm an anarchist"

    Women good/men bad;

    Oz's jealousy of Willow/Tara brings out his more animal nature.


    The Initiative experimenting on Oz

    Kinky dinky;

    Riley has now acquired a double bed and Buffy now sleeps in one of his shirts. Buffy imagines that Willow and werewolf Oz have had sex?

    Calling Captain Subtext;

    Buffy's reaction to the news of Will and Tara is a little freaked, interesting that she'll later vent on Riley due to his anti-demon stance (hasn't told him about Angel yet). Compensating through guilt? Buffy remarks about the uncontrollable nature of love, pressaging her relationship with Spike. Spike notes that Buffy is a 'whiny little thing' but always wins. So what exactly do Willow and Tara get up to when the candle goes out? Only fanfic can tell! That said Willow never says to Oz 'We can't be together any more because I'm gay', in fact she seems to hold out the offer that they could possibly get back together if circumstances changed so more bi than gay. Xander obviously glad to see Oz back.

    Guantanamo Bay;

    Riley finally rebels against the Initiative

    Where's Dawn?

    What's Dawn's attitude to Oz? I suspect she was a fan although she also loves Tara.

    Apocalypses; 5,

    Scoobies in bondage: Oz tied up by the Initiative

    Buffy: 8

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 5

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 4

    Oz: 2

    Faith: 3

    Joyce: 1

    Wes: 1

    Scoobies knocked out: Oz againx2

    Buffy: 15

    Giles: 10

    Cordy: 6

    Xander: 8

    Will: 5

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 6

    Oz: 5

    Faith: 1

    Joyce: 2

    Wes: 1


    Buffy: 79 vamps, 27 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot

    Giles: 5 vamps, 1 demon

    Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon

    Will: 4 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; 12 vamps + 6 demons

    Scoobies go evil:

    Giles: 1

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 1

    Oz: 1

    Joyce: 1

    Xander: 2

    Alternate scoobies:

    Buffy: 6

    Giles: 3

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 2

    Joyce: 2

    Xander: 3

    Recurring characters killed: 7

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

    Sunnydale Death toll; I figure must be around 60?

    Total number of scoobies: 7

    Giles, Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Riley and Tara attending her first Scooby meeting

    Xander demon magnet: 5

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

    Scoobies shot: Riley is about to shoot Oz although unless it's loaded with silver bullets you wonder would his pistol affect him? The Initiative guys surround Riley and Oz, surely if they opened fire they'd kill each other too?

    Giles: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 4

    Notches on Scooby bedpost: I think we should add Tara to the list for Willow especially as Oz notes Willow's scent is 'all over' Tara.

    Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny

    Cordy: 1?

    Buffy: 3; Angel, Parker, Riley

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    Joyce: 1;Giles, possibly Ted

    Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca

    Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley

    Xander: 2; Faith, Anya

    Willow: 2;Oz and Tara

    Questions and observations;

    The entrance of Connor Farrell, a great actor from Sex and the City, From the Earth to the Moon and especially an obscure old series I used to enjoy called Dark Skies (anyone else remember it? they used to show it very late on C4, basically history from a UFO conspiracists POV). In case anyone doesn't know William Boroughs wrote surrealist novel The Naked Lunch and accidentally shot his wife through the head. Adam was a Boy Scout. So, a werewolf CAN control it's impulses? Maybe Buffy and co should tell Nina that on Angel? (wouldn't you love Oz to turn up in Angel S6/Buffy S8?) Now according to Keith Toppings book the events of 5x5 occur AFTER this ep. Willow and Tara discuss Miss Kitty. Last mention of Devon. Anya displays her computer skills for the first time. McNamara is the name of Kennedy's defence secretary who is widely blamed for the failure of the Vietnam War and who died just this week.

    On my 2009 Buffy calender there's a great picture of Tara and Oz with Willow in the middle. Tara's holding Willow's arm and Will's looking at Oz who looks as if he's about to form an expression as if to say "Sorry babe, I'm with her". I don't think it's a scene from the show but it's a peach of pic.

    Marks out of 10; 8/10

  • Season 4, Episode 19.

    The relationship between Willow and Tara seems to be progressing, but Oz comes to town and complicates things with some good news: he has found a way to control his wolf metamorphoses. However, he cannot control his transformations after he discovers Willow and Tara are more than just friends.

    This episode was OK. I liked Willow coming out to Buffy. It was a great scene. However, Oz's return was unnecessary, and I think this was just a filler episode because the writers couldn't think of anything better. But I'm happy that Oz is finally gone and that Willow and Tara are finally together. Their homoerotic relationship finally progresses into a romantic relationship. Decent episode. :)
  • Overall, this episode has strong character development, particularly for Buffy, Riley, and Willow, but the return of Oz is more of a plot device than a fitting final appearance for a beloved cast member.

    With the season rapidly drawing to a close, this episode attempts to pull all of the various character arcs together while advancing the main arc. This more or less works, but in the process, it becomes clear that the writers were trying very hard to get the Adam plot thread to make sense. With the Big Bad of the season somewhat undermined by a lack of real forethought, the character arcs are the only saving grace of the fourth season.

    The title certainly points to the return of Oz, but more so to Willow’s new direction in life. This completes the process that began with Oz’s departure in the first place, and thus gives this episode an immediate connection to the season’s theme of self-discovery. Willow realizes just how important Tara has become to her, and while that’s been growing all along, it takes Oz coming back to force her into taking the last step.

    Of course, Willow’s not the only one discovering her true self in this episode. Riley more or less completes his journey from Mr. Initiative to Slayer-Junkie, something that changes his life forever. Clearly, like Willow, he realizes that his love is stronger than past loyalties that no longer hold the same meaning they once did. Buffy, at least for the rest of the season, responds to Riley’s gesture with apparent love of her own.

    That’s what makes this an interesting point in the narrative. This is effectively where Willow’s character grows, adding to the long-term arc that began when she discovered that Tara could expand her understanding of magic. From a certain perspective, this apparently simple and lovely decision is actually rather complex, in terms of Willow’s psychology. She loves Tara, without a doubt, but her desire to wield more powerful magic is also a strong motivator.

    Riley’s motivations are somewhat more pure (again, from a certain point of view), and yet it doesn’t turn out nearly as well. Where this is an important next step in Willow’s character evolution, Riley’s character arc is all but over shortly after his decision to go rogue. This is an example of something that the writers in the later seasons could rarely do effectively. Characters created to fit into a season/character arc for a very specific purpose were simply not viable once that arc was complete.

    Tara and Riley are both examples of this, though Riley is the more obvious one. Riley was a strong character until the fifth season. At that point, his character is aimless. He’s there just long enough to serve a minor purpose in the fifth season’s theme. Tara, on the other hand, was created to fill in the space created by Oz’s departure, with the eventual intention to trigger Willow’s descent into darkness upon her death. When Tara’s death was postponed for a season (it was originally meant to happen at the end of the fifth, not the sixth), her character went nowhere for a very long time. (Similar issues would emerge for Dawn.)

    The point is that this episode marks an important stage in the beginning of Tara’s purpose in the narrative, but the beginning of the end of Riley’s purpose. Both are important in the evolution of the main characters involved with them. Buffy, for instance, comes to the conclusion that Riley deserves to be told the truth about her past, and that’s an indication of her choice. It’s also another sign of her growing isolation, since she’s investing more of herself in Riley (or rather, what Riley represents in her life).

    Joss made an interesting comment about Willow at this stage in her character evolution. In essence, as much as Willow later states that she’s gay and demonstrably so, that may not be the most accurate way of looking at it. Willow doesn’t come to some sudden awareness of her true lesbian persona. Rather, she becomes attracted to Tara independent of the gender issue. (That’s why the magic question comes up so clearly; without the magic connection, would Willow have found Tara so compelling?)

    Tara’s character is still a work in progress, and in a lot of ways, she would never be more than a subset of Willow. But there’s an evolution of the character that’s evident in this episode. In her earliest appearances, Tara was entrenched in the pseudo-goth look, as if trying very hard to look frumpy and unattractive. As her relationship with Willow has grown, her look has softened. This process continues throughout her time on the series.

    In terms of an exit, Oz left well before he was meant to go. There’s a lot of reason to believe that this plot element of the season would have played out regardless of when Oz left. That version of the story might have been a little more satisfying. As it stands, Oz is more of a plot device than a character with a particular purpose. His appearance is more about Willow than any personal growth of his own.

    There’s some movement on the Adam front, but it’s largely confined to vague pronouncements of a plan and the preparations thereof. The intentional seeding of the Initiative with lots and lots of demons is a clever move, but Adam’s plan seems borne more of the need to give him a reason to stage the big battle in “Primeval” than a logical concept (and the rest of the season bears this out).

    The real purpose of Adam and the end of the season is to evolve Buffy’s search for self-identity (what it means to be “Buffy”) into a search for the origins of her Chosen legacy (what it means to be “The Slayer”). This two-season arc builds on the basics established in the second and third seasons, where Buffy came to understand what it is about her world that is a strength and a weakness, all in one. But knowing that isn’t the same as coming to terms with it, and just as this season demonstrated that Buffy has a hard time defining herself, it all comes back to how much of her psychology is passed down by her Chosen destiny.

    Putting that aside for the actual final episodes, this is more about the relationships and how they are ripe for manipulation. Buffy may be trying not to wig, but she is, and it’s not hard to figure out. More to the point, Willow is obviously worried about being ostracized by her friends. Xander has been on the outside looking in since the beginning of the season, his pains and fears largely unrecognized. Giles feels less like a mentor than the guy with the convenient apartment.

    At least, that’s where the writers are clearly going, since all of that (and more) comes into play in the next episode. But watching this episode brings up a recurring point. When Willow needs support, everyone is there for her, even if they don’t know all the reasons why she’s upset. The whole gang is involved in the process of helping Oz and Riley. The gang might be together less than before, but there’s hardly the degree of isolation within the group that the writers want to claim.

    So does the return of Oz work? In terms of pushing Buffy and Willow into decisions about their relationships, certainly. In terms of Oz and giving him a proper sendoff…not so much. There’s also a running commentary on “bigotry” against demons in general, which seems rather ironic, given how clearly defined those differences were for Buffy and the others during the earlier seasons. Whatever the case, this is a good episode that helps to pull together a number of plot threads important to the resolution of the fourth season.