Older and Far Away
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|"Older and Far Away"|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||Michael Gershman|
|Written by||Drew Z. Greenberg|
|Original air date||February 12, 2002|
"Older and Far Away" is the 14th episode of season 6 of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Buffy apologizes to Dawn for having to leave to hunt down a dangerous demon, promising that they'll soon spend time together. The next day at school, Dawn is called to see a guidance counsellor who tries to get her to reveal her problems. Dawn says she wishes that people would stop leaving her.
While Anya prepares food for Buffy's birthday party, Buffy lets Tara in and the two talk secretly. Buffy explains that Spike wasn't invited because he wouldn't behave around her friends. However, having heard about the party from Willow, Spike shows up with beer and Clem, the loose-skinned demon with whom he plays kitten poker. Before Buffy can deal with this, Xander introduces Richard, a friend from work, whom he and Anya invited.
Buffy opens her birthday presents, which include a portable back massager from Willow and a shoplifted leather jacket from Dawn. Buffy spots the security tag still attached, but as Dawn nervously tries to explain, Xander and Anya's gift - a custom weapons chest - is wheeled into the room and distracts Buffy. Sophie, Buffy's colleague from work, arrives, shifting Buffy's attention from her disgruntled sister, who angrily closes the door. As the door closes, the guidance counsellor steps out of the shadows and reveals herself as the vengeance demon Halfrek saying, "Wish granted." Vengeance demons are notorious for the wishes they grant.
The party continues into the following morning, and the partygoers gradually realize they're unable to leave the Summers' house. The gang discuss the dilemma, anxious about missing classes and work. Dawn snaps at them, hurt and angry that they want to leave. Suspicious, the Scooby Gang asks Dawn if she has anything to do with the situation, but she angrily denies it. Magic seems to be the only solution but Tara doesn't have any supplies with her and is the only one who can do it.
Tara performs a spell intended to release them from the house, but instead it releases the demon from the sword Buffy brought home. It attacks the group and Richard takes a cut to the chest before the demon retreats into the walls. While the wound is tended, noises can be heard in the walls and Anya begins to show signs of claustrophobia. Xander comforts her, then is also attacked. Buffy and Spike fight the demon back into hiding; although he is injured, Xander shows more concern for Anya's state of shock than his own physical well-being. Buffy and Dawn finally talk. Xander and Anya both press her to act but Tara is opposed, and Willow is scared that if she starts using magic again, she may not be able to stop. Dawn tells Buffy that she recently talked to a guidance counsellor. Meanwhile, Anya searches Dawn's room, convinced that she has something to do with their entrapment. Dawn enters with her sister and is freaked out by the invasion of privacy, but Anya uncovers Dawn's secret stash of stolen jewellery and objects from the Magic Shop.
Dawn tries to leave, but Anya delivers her a stern lecture on theft; Anya is particularly upset that Dawn has stolen from the Magic Shop. Buffy tries to place the blame on the guidance counsellor. Anya realizes Halfrek is responsible, so Anya summons her because only Halfrek can lift the spell. Halfrek appears, but is stabbed by the demon. The only problem is destroying Halfrek's pendant so they can be freed.
Halfrek, only slightly harmed, explains that vengeance demons aren't limited, though some "specialize" in certain types of vengeance. She informs the Scooby Gang that Dawn's pain and desperate plea for attention were more severe than she has seen in a long time, but the gang were oblivious. Halfrek thinks the gang deserves to be cursed and confined to the house for eternity. But when Halfrek tries to leave, she falls victim to her own curse and is forced to lift it.
Tara understands why Willow kept some magical supplies and is proud that she didn't fall for the temptation of using magic even in a desperate situation. She makes it clear that Willow has to cope without the safety net from now on. Richard is escorted to the hospital, while most of the remaining gang depart. Buffy remains in the house with a happier Dawn.
- The plot of this episode bears some resemblance to Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel (1962), which concerns a group of wealthy socialites who find they are psychologically incapable of leaving their hosts' music room following a lavish dinner party.
- Similarly, Episode 11 of Season 1 of the TV series Eureka, in which the Smarthouse S.A.R.A.H. (named after the actress Sarah Michelle Gellar) locks several inhabitants of Eureka inside herself to prevent them from leaving her, very closely follows this episode, including several lines of near-identical dialogue.
- The Scooby gang find out about Dawn's kleptomania. The detail had been important to throw guilt on Dawn in the episode "Once More, with Feeling", although it turned out that Xander was responsible.
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