In honor of Amber Benson’s birthday today, here is a list compiling the Top 15 Times that Tara Maclay was amazing. Keep in mind that my definition of “amazing” is very broad. It could stand for bad ass, adorable, funny, etc. Enjoy!!
15. Depressing Spelling (5 x 16)
This is one of Tara’s most quoted lines. The whole conversation with Anya in this scene is hilarious in itself (keep an eye on Tara’s facial expression when Anya talks about the huge photo of her face on the Magic Box website- good stuff) but this piece of dialogue takes the cake because it’s just so true and in character. You can just see Tara stealing Willow’s laptop, scrolling through message boards and then quietly shutting it after witnessing one too many “I luv u 5ever“s.
14. Funny Shapes or Rounds? ( 6 x 1)
I can never make pancakes again without thinking “funny shapes or rounds?” And that’s not a bad thing. This scene is so adorable and perfect and half of why I love the episode so much. It was great seeing a glimpse into the home that Tara and Willow had made for Dawn, and that Tara really tried her best to be a comforting and maternal figure for Dawn after she’d lost her mother and sister during an already f***ed up year (aka season 5). Also, I bet Tara’s pancakes are damn good.
13. Thumb Wrestling (5 x 2)
A 14 (?) year old girl has just seen a dead body (I presume for the first time) and everyone thinks it’s okay to just toss her on the street to deal with that image, but Tara is intelligent and empathetic enough to go over to Dawn and attempt to keep her mind off the murder business.
12. How’s That Cramp, Spike? (6 x 14)
I really like this episode in general because we get to see Tara’s humorous side shine and see the role that she has settled in to the Scoobies; that being a voice of reason and comfort. My heart melts every time Buffy opens the door for her and says, “Hey, you came.” and Tara hugs her and says,
and then sincerely and tactfully asks her how she is doing without going into too much detail. Anyway, I digress. I love seeing Tara pointedly tease Spike about his “muscle cramp”after witnessing him and Buffy in the hallway.
It’s funny and sweet at the same time because while she is teasing, she’s also lightly admonishing as a way to stick up for Buffy. Also, any other character that would have witnessed this
would have freaked out and announced it to the whole damn party. Granted, Tara already had a heads up about the relationship but we all know that even if she hadn’t been privy, she still wouldn’t have made a scene.
11. Finding Willow (6 x 2)
I love this moment because I always love when Tara gets to take charge and save the day. She stayed calm and cool while Anya freaked the f*** out. For those of you that need a quick refresher, Tara was able to project a fairy-like light into the woods to lead Xander and Willow to the Magic Box, since they were lost. If Tara hadn’t come up with this idea Xander and Willow probably would have died. I love the recurring Willow/Tara theme of “I will always find you”. Also, WILLOW’S FACE WHEN SHE REALIZED THE LIGHT WAS TARA>>>>>
10. Dad. Just Go. (5 x 10)
The only episode to be focused specifically on Tara, she really gets her shining moment at the end when she stands up to her “family”, as her real family stands ground beside her. Tara is not going anywhere, motherf****rs. It was very moving to see that Tara had finally found her place among the Scoobies, having effectively cut ties with her oppressive past.
9. Under Your Spell (6 x 7)
This list would be trash without including my personal favorite number from OMWF, Under Your Spell. The whole thing is so magic and disney-esque and the outfits are ???? and it’s just beautiful and perfect. My favorite part is when they are twirling and the scenery changes from the park to the room.
8. It’s Always Sudden (5 x 15)
TARA: I know it’s different for you, because
it’s always different, but… if you
Bear with me on this because what I can remember is vague (I only watched The Body once and haven’t watched it since, it emotionally ruins me), but I do remember that Tara was the only one to be able to offer any sort of comfort to Buffy. The fact that the other characters couldn’t do this is not a flaw at all – rather, the situation highlights the naturally accepting and alleviating nature of Tara, something that makes her unique in the Scoobies. Since Tara lost her own mother at 17, she is able to empathize with Buffy. But instead of telling Buffy how she should handle the grief, or telling her that “it’ll be okay”, as most people selfishly (however unintentional) would, she makes it clear that everyone deals with the loss and grief differently, and leaves on open invitation for Buffy to confide in her if need be. It’s a gentle, sweet moment.
7. Figuring out Buffy Wasn’t Buffy (4 x 16)
Tara is the one to see that Buffy clearly wasn’t herself, which is crazy because Willow has known her for how long and can’t figure out that she’s acting totally weird. Would Buffy ever sit like this?
Tara immediately recognizes that something is off (especially after Faith as Buffy said some pretty rude stuff to her) and saves the day with A SPELL!! I hope Buffy bought Tara a coffee after that ordeal.
6. Movie and Milkshake Fun Day with Dawn (6 x 9)
The reason that this so amazing is because even though Tara is not with Willow anymore, SHE IS STILL THERE FOR DAWN!! ALWAYS!!
It’s precious and wonderful, and shows how selfless and devoted Tara is. Dawn is family to her, and Tara knows that the girl absolutely cannot lose another person close to her, so Tara makes sure to remain present in Dawn’s life.
5. If You Try, You’ll Have To Go Through Me First (6 x 14)
Hello, character development! Our girl has come along way from the stuttering, shy witch in S4. This is such a shining moment for Tara because she firmly stands up for Willow when everyone else is being wishy washy with her. At first, they are all, “OMG, Willow, give up magic! You use it too much!” but when the going gets tough, it’s, “Stop holding out on us Willow. You can just use it this one time.” Like, that’s not how it works mo-fos. Be straight up. I’m glad Tara called bull shit.
4. Leaving Willow (6 x 8)
Trust me, it hurt me as much as it hurt you. Especially seeing Willow crying in the bathroom and all.
But hear me out: this is an amazing moment for Tara because she has the strength and self-worth to get out of a relationship that was becoming toxic. Remember, Willow mind wiped her TWICE. That is not something to take lightly. We all know how much Tara loved Willow so clearly it was hard for her to leave, but the fact that she was strong enough to do it really means a lot. She knew that if she stayed, her warnings of too much magic use would hold no value, since Willow would rationalize that “it must not be that bad if she’s still with me.” It’s a harsh ultimatum but it’s one that is both necessary for Willow as it is for Tara. Willow needed time alone to realize what she had lost and how she needed to improve her life, and Tara needed time alone to let herself heal and reflect. A younger Tara may have continued to stay with Willow for fear of being alone, or something along those lines, but S6 Tara has learned much and come along way. So hats off to her for leaving the love of her life. (For the good of both of them.)
3. Coming Back To Willow (6 x 18)
I know I just said that Tara was amazing for leaving Willow, but she is also amazing for coming back to her. In a cast of characters that can often be vague and secretive about their true feelings, Tara was mature enough to come up to Willow’s room after a break in their relationship and plainly state that she wanted to get back together with her. They had their time apart (about 10 episodes!) and Tara had waited until she felt that Willow was ready to be in a relationship again, and instead of messing around she just told Willow her true feelings and intent:
TARA: There’s so much to work through. Trust has to build again, on both sides… you have to learn if you’re even the same people you were, if you can fit in each other’s lives, it’s a long and important process and can we just skip it? Can you just be kissing me now?
This is also an important moment because it is all done on TARA’S TERMS. This is a woman who has been beaten down her whole life, and here she is clearly defining the renewal of a relationship. There’s no manipulation, no begging, no anger displayed by either party. Just two women who are ready to be in a relationship again, initiated by Tara, the person who was wronged in the first place. I will go the the grave defending the fact that this is the most mature relationship ever portrayed on BTVS.
2. If You’re Worried You Can Be Worried (6 x 3)
This moment ranks so high on the list because I think it captures just why Tara is so perfect for Willow. Here’s the exchange:
Are you worried?
Worried? Tara, it worked fine. It’s
Hey, Will. This is me. It doesn’t all
have to be “good” and “fine.” This is
the room where you don’t have to
be brave and I still love you. If you’re
worried you can be worried.
This is something that no one else can offer Willow. Willow is a character who prides herself on being dependable. She’s someone that strives for perfection as well. We know that Willow is the type to assume an impenetrable mask and act as if everything is okay when it really is not. (As demonstrated in the quoted exchange.) Xander and Anya, for instance, would have probably left Willow’s statement as is without reading between the lines. This is something that Tara has always been able to do with her, as she instantly recognizes that Willow does, in fact, have some doubts about the implications of bringing Buffy back from the dead. As such, she doesn’t call her out on it. She instead lets Willow know that her feelings and doubts are valid, and that they can be discerned to Tara without any rebuttal or judgement. It’s such a sweet moment between the two that is often overlooked.
1. It’s Not That Simple
This moment is number one, because it cements that Tara is unlike anyone else on the show. Buffy felt comfortable telling her deepest secret to TARA. And Tara welcomes her without judgement. At first, she is clearly suprised by Buffy’s revelation but leaves it at that. She listens. She does not persecute. She offers a wonderful sentiment that is meant for Buffy to interpret in her own way:
TARA: Do you love him? It’s okay if you do… He’s done a lot of good, and he does love you…and Buffy, it’s okay if you don’t.
You’re going through a hard time, and you’re…
And at the end, Tara does not pry. She simply lets Buffy cry, holding her. It’s exactly what Buffy needs at that moment. Watch it in it’s entirety here:
And that’s the list! Are there any I missed? Want to reminisce over your favorite Tara moments? Leave a comment below and remember to share with fellow Tara fans! 🙂