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18 June 2014
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Episode Guide
Tough Love


The magic may not have gone out of the Willow/Tara romance just yet, but they've certainly hit a rocky patch this week. Like Willow and Anya's recent falling out, however, it all seems a little forced - with the needs of the (slight) plot outweighing believable character development a little. Amber Benson is incredibly endearing as brain-sucked Tara, though.

Still, it does lead to a kick-ass piece of wicca-work, as Willow takes on Glory in a spectacular black-eyed, floaty, knife-throwing set-piece. The final scene is a shocker too.


Buffy heads straight into daytime tear-jerker mode for the first half of Tough Love, addressing themes that would be right at home in any soap. A young girl struggling to keep her family together in difficult circumstances, and a girl fighting with her lover over commitment to a relationship - the scenes dealing with these issues are well played and emotional, but is it really Buffy?

Only with Tara’s ravaging by Glory does Tough Love step into traditional Sunnydale territory - coming as quite a relief to me by this point. From that point on the energy level ramps up, as the situation spirals out of control. Even in the quieter moments there’s a sense of everything being shot to pieces, as the Scoobies deal with a deranged Tara, sulking Dawn and a Willow who’s distraught and possibly dangerous. Building up to the first genuinely shocking season five cliffhanger, the second half is proper Buffy - delivering almost enough to forgive the yawnsome beginning.

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