Monday, 11 March 2013
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Family
“Well, I found myself in a sort of more patriarchal role. Pointing and scowling.”
So, at last we get an episode focussing on Tara, and one that confirms the suspicions I’ve gleaned from the subtleties of Amber Benson’s superb performance; she comes from a family history of abuse. Even better is that the Tara episode is both written and directed by Joss Whedon himself. She’s made it at last.
It’s a slow reveal, but from our first glimpse of Tara’s unpleasant brother we know that her family are controlling, stifling, and horribly patriarchal, going by the notion that “The women in our family have demons in them.” It’s an obvious metaphor for patriarchy in all its worst forms. There’s also an obvious metaphor for family homophobia, too, in which Tara’s magic stands for her sexuality: Tara’s father says that she has “evil” in her. And Tara’s true family, who accept her, are the Scoobies. So far, so nice and fluffy. And yet, beyond Willow, the Scoobies are awkward with her and, liberal though they are, are just as awkward with accepting that their old friend Willow is in a same sex relationship. It’s an important message; homophobia, like racism and other prejudices, goes beyond the more obvious bigotry.
In other news this episode, Tara’s party has My Vitriol playing in the background. Blimey. I hadn’t even thought about that band for years. We also have Buffy moving to her mum’s, as Joyce is ill. Will she be able to keep up with her studies? And Riley seems more and more emasculated, taking up more and more of a traditionally female role in his and Buffy’s relationship. Worse, Willow tells Giles about Dawn being the “key”, but not Riley. As I’ve always said, she doesn’t love him. And now he’s visiting vampire bars. Worrying.