Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | October 21, 2012

Podcast #83: No Place Like Home

Here’s the podcast for Season 5, Episode 5 – No Place Like Home

Buffy accepts Dawn

Buffy accepts Dawn

Download: No Place Like Home

RSS Feed: The Buffy Rewatch

The next podcast will appear on Monday 29th October 2012 for episode five of Season Five: “Family.” That’s the one where Tara’s family comes to visit.

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  1. Comments on my comments; I watched Buffy two summers ago so 2011. For a frame of reference you guys were just finishing up season two on the podcast while I was finishing the series for the first time. I had a similar experience with Dawn to Cordia’s, I don’t think Lost was the problem though. I went through this problem with Buffy and Angel and I’m going through it now with Breaking Bad; when I watch something on Netflix and I get really invested and I know the answers are out there I want them. Well the annoying Cousins show up on Breaking Bad, I want to know when they will stop showing up. When Dawn showed up for the first time I desperately want to go to the episode where I find out what she is and five episodes so seems like forever. I’m perfectly fine with waiting for answers when a show has aired but when it is already been filmed, aired and viewed by millions of people I’m really impatient. (The ironic thing is I HATE spoilers)

    As for the Dawn misdirection in “No Place Like Home” I agree with everything you guys said in your reviews and podcasts, this is not good. I’m just not as harsh as you are with it. I didn’t find too much problem with the acting or direction, I don’t think Dawn is acting possessed. It’s true we have never seen Dawn act this way but we have never seen them really fight. Dawn’s MO could be to act really distant with Buffy and then suck up to Joyce. I know I’m doing an insane amount of explaining this behavior away and this would probably make more sense if we actually having a conversation. In short though I don’t think the acting is bad I think is the music and it’s one of the better Buffy’s misdirection. For the record though I can’t think of a good Buffy misdirection. I don’t think there as been an episode that works like “Fight Club” or “Shutter Island”. If I had to pick episodes though I do find “No Place Like Home”‘s misdirection be better than “The Replacement” and season three’s “Enemies” but that is just off the top of my head.

  2. Family

    I found this episode really disappointing, if only for the fact that the foreshadowing of Tara’s secret in “Restless” and “Goodbye Iowa” had me expecting something more involved for her character, which might impact her and the Scoobies in further episodes. It seems as though the writers found themselves settling on this nonsensical and easily forgotten story after making a promise they weren’t prepared to keep.

    PS. I pretty much had the same reaction that Buffy did when Riley brought up bringing Graham and the “government boys” in to help with Glory: “No! No, I don’t want them anywhere near this.”

  3. So I’m just gonna start this off with the fact that I think that the “Tara might be a demon” storyline is quite dumb, particularly since it is broached and then completely wrapped up in one episode. That part is silly, and I could do without Tara’s stereotypical “backwards” family, though seeing Amy Adams before she was in movies is kind of a kick . But there are several things that work for me in this episode. The primary thing I like about this episode is that I find that the interactions between Willow, Buffy, and Xander regarding their acceptance or lack-there-of to ring very true for me. My own romantic history closely resembles Willow’s in that I dated men through college until, somewhat unexpectedly I fell in love with a woman. My friends reacted positively and supported me, but they were somewhat uncomfortable or unsure of how to act around me and my girlfriend, because it was new for them and they did not really know her. For me, Willow’s eagerness and insecurity around the gang attending Tara’s birthday, and Buffy and Xander’s uncertainty of how to handle the situation was incredibly well done and was a redeeming factor in an otherwise lackluster plot line. Also, no matter how overly dramatic and predictable it is, I still like Buffy’s “you gotta go through me” comment to Mr. Maclay and the rest of the Scoobies backing her up (although when Mr. Maclay says something about being “blood kin” to Tara, I roll my eyes since that is not a phrase that anyone would ever say and it’s clearly only a set up for Buffy to say the “we’re family” line). I also rather enjoy Spike’s lines about how he doesn’t care what happens. Overall, I end up liking this episode because I think it effectively deepens Willow and Tara’s relationship and solidifies her position in the gang, which makes up for a multitude of sins elsewhere in the episode.

  4. I also can’t decide how I feel about the continued substitution of Wiccan for lesbian in this episode. It’s even more blatant than in previous episodes. I do though think Buffy’s trepidation about a heavy “wiccan” crowd at Tara’s party rings true, as my straight friends have had similar concerns about attending queer events with me.

  5. Just kidding. I actually went back and re-watched the episode. The Wiccan stuff is way over the top in the scene with Tara’s father in her bedroom. Though I did laugh out loud when her father picks up a crystal and asks if Tara wanted him to find these “toys”. Subtle Joss, subtle.

  6. Surprising Buffy first. It’s the first time I’ve seen this episode! When I watched though Buffy the first time I did it mostly on Netflix, I remember the first scene of Family and that’s it! Sleepy Willow made me sleepy. Then when I came back and hit the next episode button I had completely missed this without knowing it. Such a great joy to get experience a “new” episode of Buffy.

    I may have rose tinted glasses on but I super enjoyed this episode. Buffy’s look at the family dynamic and coming to the conclusion that “family is not the people you’re blood related to; but, the people who you care about and who care about you” is not a new idea, in fact you could say it’s a television standard but it’s the way they go about exploring this and the timing in Season 5 that makes this a particularly great episode.

    What I really enjoy about Family is that it’s a character study. In the scheme of things nothing life shattering happens in Family (due to the fact that I missed this episode the first time and never felt at lost in the episodes that followed) yet it is an important episode to establish our characters are before we enter the major arch of the season. It’s clear that this episode was written and directed by Joss “Mr. Fantastic” Whedon himself. For the first time in quite some time I feel like our characters have their voice back, are well rounded and are consistent with the characters we know and love. Even Riley doesn’t fall flat in this episode (but I’ve said before I’m a Riley apologist and actually like season 5 Riley). The best way to tackle this episode is look at each of the main characters and their relationships.

    Buffy, Riley and Dawn
    Riley and Buffy’s relationship falls further down the rabbit hole in this episode, it’s becoming more and more clear that Riley is on one page and Buffy is on another. I like that we can see that they really do care for each other; however, Riley is struggling to find his place within the “family”. His love for Buffy is keeping him in Sunnydale but it’s getting clearer with each reference to the military that he’s not in the right place, just as Graham stated a few episodes ago.

    As for Buffy and Dawn it’s nice to see Buffy caring for Dawn no matter what, but the moment that I really liked for their relationship actually has very little to Dawn herself. The end of the episode when Buffy accepts Tara into the group she is also accepting Dawn, great way to tie the plot of this episode into the overall arch of the season. Even if Dawn is really not her sister, she will care for her and protect her like she is from this point on. This is such a great moment that solidifies the new scoobies into the “family”

    Xander, Giles and Anya
    What I like about Xander in this season is that he really is becoming a grown up. Yes, he is still full of jokes and sarcasm but he really is becoming the grounding force for the group. Xander has no powers, no magic and he’s not the smartest, he truly is becoming the heart of group. He’s there because he cares about every single scooby. It seems like at the end of Season 4 when the writers were trying to define the roles of the 4 main characters they put the word “heart” on Xander, and now they are truly letting his character morph into exactly that the heart of the group. A little backward but it’s working nicely for me! Also, Anya and Xander are truly the definition of cute.

    I put Giles here because he is showing that he really is the true father figure of the group, not just Buffy. What is great about him is his acceptance of Anya and he too is now coaching her in human ways. Giles truly is a member of the group again.

    Willow and Tara
    We finally get an episode focused on Tara and it wasn’t terrible! I’m not the biggest fan of Tara but this episode finally gives her a little bit of depth that I thought was so sorely missing. We are able to see what makes her and Willow so great together their love, trust and faith in each other. The thing that I liked about Tara’s family is that they are not malicious and at times they are not wrong, Tara really did make a big mistake in cursing the others, they do care about her and that’s what motivates their actions. But when it comes down to it they lied and if Spike says “You’re a piece of work, I like you” It’s not a good thing.

    Spike and Harmony
    Just a quick look at Spike and how his crush on Buffy is growing stronger every minute was a great way to keep him in the episode and use Harmony to show that yes, he’s still a demon and a jerk. But Spike’s crush is a great new addition to his character and makes it so much easier to buy him always hanging around the scoobies.

    On the whole I very much enjoyed Family; the humor and drama are in great balance here and all of the characters hit the right note. Overall this is a joy to watch. Favorite moment: the exchange between Xander and Spike at the end where Spike admits he “doesn’t care what happens”. That kills me. Just a true Buffy first that I caught: Buffy saying “I must protect Dawn” first of… let’s just say many. We better get used to this in the weeks to come.

    (P.S. I sat down to write a short review for this episode… yeah that didn’t happen. Sorry hope you enjoy)

  7. No place like home:
    I think it’s a good episode and I enjoyed watching it. I like the scene where Buffy is under this spell and realizes there must be something wrog with Dawn. When I first watched season 5 I also thought Dawn must be something evil. Michelle Trachtenberg is good in looking scary 🙂 Although I didn’t like the character at first, she’s played by a good actress.

    How cute is Buffy’s shirt with the golden skull? 🙂

    • Family
      written by Joss Whedon

      I love this episode. Now it becomes clear why Tara botched the attempted “detection spell” in Season Four. My favourite scene is when they are all togehter in the magic shop and Buffy and the gang stand up for Tara against her family.

      This episode picks up shortly where the previous episode left off. Offscreen, Buffy must have called Giles to come over after she left the monk.

      Harmony “shops” at April Fools, the store Cordelia worked at after her family lost all their money.

  8. Since the perception spell didn’t make Cordia’s Buffy Firsts list, I assume I’m not spoiling anything when I say that it always bugged me that we never saw it again. It was such a cool power and fit so well into the existing Slayer powers that it would have made sense to see it again.

    I know, the ritual takes a long time and the effects might be a pain, but it bugs me to this day, even more than the failure to bring up the joining spell at desperate moments.

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