Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | February 5, 2013

Cordia’s Review: S5, E19 – Tough Love

Tough Love
Season 5, Episode 19
Original airing: 5/1/2001

My Rating: 54

The Good: It’s good to see Glory amping things up a bit, although I think she’s being very slow about the whole thing (see The Bad). She did have some interesting stuff though. I like the threat she provides to Tara. The effects of the broken hand were poorly done, but the fear she inspires is realistic. The fight with Willow had some high points too. I really enjoyed the beginning when Willow was floating and shooting lightning bolts.

I liked the lead up to all of this with Willow and Tara’s fight/ The fears Willow and Tara are expressing make a lot of sense and we’ve seen hints and nudges to these topics for a while now. I really appreciate that the show is continuing to deal with Willow’s lesbianism and the questions that would raise for her first relationship.

I also like the Buffy and Dawn interactions. I think Dawn’s motivations are spot on. She’s angry and confused and if I was 14 and a mystical Key with death all around me, I’d be looking at school and such and thinking it was a big waste of time too. Buffy’s attempts to be strict and her plea to Giles were heartfelt and heartbreaking and yet enduringly misguided.

The Bad: However, the major point of this episode fell flat for me. I have no connection to Tara’s loss of sanity. I don’t feel sad for her in anything other than an abstract manner. Honestly, I think the portrayal of her sanity is really poorly done. Her vacant expression and general listlessness actually reminds me of her portrayal on the show when she was first introduced. She doesn’t seem crazy to me, except for the occasional random sentences.

By extension, I don’t even feel sad for Willow. I don’t feel her passion and anger when she goes after Glory. I don’t care when she states she’ll take care of Tara forever because she’s her always. None of that hits me because I just can’t feel anything for Tara.

And I don’t understand why Glory is trying to deduce who the Key is? We see in this episode that she can determine the Key by tasting blood, so why isn’t she just running up to each of Buffy’s friends and taking a bite? Having her sit around for months makes her seem completely nonthreatening.

Favorite Moment: It’s hard not to appreciate a good Ripper moment. Giles’ capturing the minion was so smooth and well done, I couldn’t help but applaud. This was a moment I totally bought into and enjoyed.

The Bottom Line: This is not a terrible episode, but it’s not so good either. It definitely moves the story along and finally brings Glory to the Key, but I have little to no emotional involvement in what should have been a big deal with one of our characters getting brain-sucked. Overall, it left me disappointed and detached.

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