Older and Far Away-Old and new friends gather at the Summers home for Buffy's twenty-first birthday party and it goes splendidly - at first. Feeling neglected by Buffy and the Scoobys, Dawn's wish to keep people from leaving her is answered by Anya's demon friend Halfrek, who binds the attendees of the party to the house. When Tara tries a spell to free them, she only makes the situation worse by accidentally releasing a demon trapped inside a sword.
Ehw! It's not that "Older and Far Away" is bad, it certainly had it's moments, but the problem is: It's a Dawn episode. Not that Dawn is a horrible character, it's just her particular arc this season is by far the weakest. Sure, Dawn got a lot of flake from the fanbase during the show's run but I never hated the character. Michelle Trachtenberg is a strong actress for her age and anything the writers gave her, she delivered it well. The fact is, Dawn got the short end of the stick this season as her loneliness/kleptomania arc just doesn't seem as strong or interesting as the rest of the characters this season. It's evident as the best parts of the episode exclude Dawn's plot. Also, I find it hard to believe that Dawn's pain is worse than EVERYONE else's pain! Buffy was just ripped from hell, Willow had a magic addictionetc. Give me a back!
Anyway, Idefinitelyliked the interaction with the other characters, especially Tara. It's a true testament to how much the character has grown immensely since Season 4. I loved her awkward welcome with Willow, it was so cute with Willow's over-politeness and Tara's nervousness, but I loved the moment where she stood up to Anya when she pushed Willow to use magic to help the situation. This wasn't just a big moment for Willow, it was for Tara as well. She now doesn't back down when situations get chaotic and will stand up for people like they once did for her. I also loved the scene toward the end where Tara really shows how proud of She does that not only for Willow but for Buffy when Spike continues to force himself on Buffy. Tara telling Spike to put some ice on his cramp in his pants was priceless. I also like the small guest characters in the episode like Sophie (who was awkward/borderline anti-social) Richard (who makes a hilarious assumption that Clem obviously doesn't have a skin condition) and Clem himself who just has so much charm despite lookingcreepyas hell. The demon attack moments were intense and I did like the effect of it popping in and off from the walls. But I have to say again, that Dawn's part of in all of this is weak. She comes off whinny and selfish, especially when the gang confronts her is she's behind all this. Sure it's a big assumption but Dawn acting like a brat didn't help matters. I don't blame Buffy for walking away when when Dawn gave her attitude about "caring". Dawn should be the one who should be one caring and supporting her sister during what she's going through. Not that Dawn should have her own problems, but she doesn't seem to be putting things into perspective, but considering she's a teenager, I'll give her a break I guess.
I loved Halfrek'sappearance toward the end, especially that little moment where her and Spike recognize each other. Nice touch there writers! Of course the moment she realizes she's stuck too is priceless. But in the end, I still feel the episode was uneven, sure there is plot movement with Dawn as the gang discovers her stealing ways and the moments with Anya and Xander were touching, but I still feel "meh" after this episode. Fair but almost forgettable.