"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Real Me (TV Episode 2000) Poster

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Who's Buffy's little sister?
katierose29529 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When this episode first aired, it must have been a shock to see Dawn just show up. Buffy's always been a only child and everybody's knows it. Suddenly she has a kid sister and there's absolutely no explanation of where she's been all these years. I didn't start watching the show until it was off the air, so I think that I missed the full "What the h*ll is going on?!?!" impact of Dawn sudden presence in the Summers' house. Even watching on DVD, though, its kind of surprising to see her just... appear. All the characters are suddenly embracing this new 14 year old girl. They act like she's always been there. They talk like we should know her. The "Real Me" doesn't explain where she came from, but it does introduce us to Dawn for the first time. Dawn changes the balance of the show and her mysterious origins will be the main story arc of the season. If you're gonna watch season five, you really should see this episode.

"The Real Me" revolves around Dawn. Being the Slayer's little sister isn't easy and Dawn often feels ignored. Buffy is committed to training with Giles again and to learning more about her Slayerness. Dawn is a constant annoyance to her and she feels resentful that Dawn is always tagging along. When they arrive at the Magic Box to pick up some books, they find the owner murdered and supplies stolen. To make matters worse, a strange guy outside the Magic Box confronts Dawn and insists that she doesn't belong. Dawn is upset and confused by his words. Giles is impressed with the store, though, and since the proprietor is dead and all, he decides to buy it.

It turns out that Harmony is the one who raided the Magic Box. She's declared herself the Slayer's new nemesis and is determined to kill Buffy. She tries attacking the Summers' house, but Buffy's not home. Annoyed and frustrated, Harmony heads back to the cemetery where she runs into Spike. He inadvertently gives her a plan to kidnap one of the Scoobie gang and hold them hostage until Buffy shows up. Harmony snatches Dawn and Buffy has to track her sister down and save her.

"The Real Me" actually deals with two characters struggling to find their own identities, while being overshadowed by their much stronger "mentors." There's Dawn, who constantly feels second-best when she compares herself to Buffy. She uses her journals as an outlet to express her own thoughts and feelings. She acts out to get attention so that she will feel "visible" and more than just the Slayer's little sister. And there's Harmony, who's idea of evilness has been shaped by Spike. Now that they've broken up, she's desperately trying to stand on her own two feet and to run her own gang of Black Hats. Unfortunately, Harm doesn't know how to be break away from Spike's legacy. She's going after Buffy because that's what Spike always does and he's her primary example of how a vampire should behave. Both Dawn and Harmony insist that they are just being themselves, and that they're different than/free from Buffy and Spike. Yet, neither woman has truly found their "real me"s, yet. They are still just reacting to Buffy and Spike.

There are some good parts to this episode. I love Harmony. Her inept attempts at evilness, passion for sparkly clothes and unicorn obsession are just hilarious. I get such a kick out of watching her argue with Xander and boss around her "minions." Buffy's reaction to the dreaded "Harmony Gang" is pretty much what we're all thinking. Harmony's relationship with Spike is also great. Staking attempts aside, he has a soft spot for the "Littlest Vampire." (Angel does, too, eventually making Harmony his secretary over on season five of "Angel") When Spike lectures Harmony to stay away from Buffy in this episode, it's because he worried that the Slayer will hurt Harm. Also, I'm glad the Giles has found a new job. He really has been at loose ends since the high school blew up in season three. (On a side note, I really wish we could have seen him watching "Passions" with Spike last season. Giles + soap operas = funny.) The Magic Box will serve as the Scoobies unofficial hang out for the couple years and it works much better than Giles' apartment did in season four. Really, the Magic Box replaces the old Sunnydale High library as the show's default setting.

On the down side, there's Dawn. I imagine that somewhere, out in the vast recesses of time and space, Dawn has some fans. I've never met them, but I'm sure that they must exist. So, I hope that I'm not offending anyone when I say that, personally, I find Dawn to be one of the most annoying characters ever to appear in the Buffyverse. (She might have qualified as THE worst character, if not for the Potentials in season seven and Connor over on "Angel." Most days, I actually hate them more than Dawn. But, I digress...) Dawn's main purpose on the show is to get kidnapped, run away, cry that no one understands her and act all clumsy and "cute." Let me stress that I don't blame the actress for Dawn's shortcomings. I blame the writing and the character herself. Maybe she would be more tolerable if we hadn't seen Buffy, Willow, Cordy and Xander battling vampires when they were just a year or so older than Dawn. As it is, the rest of the cast constantly coddling Dawn makes the character seem selfish and whiny.

My favorite part of the episode: Giles' new car. Giles: "It seduced me. All red and sporty." Buffy: "Little two-doored tramp."
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I love Dawnie
Joxerlives25 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The Good; A great tribute to writers and cast that Dawn really does seem to fit right in, as though she's always been there. Harmony also gets a chance to shine and I do love the silent ballet of breakfast in the Summer's house.

The Bad; Nothing bad, just not as good as some other eps.

Best line; Dawn; "I could totally save the world if someone handed me superpowers" (one day Dawnie, one day) also like; Xander; "Is that Brad Konig? Not so tough now as when you were beating up kids in gym class?" Brad (giving him the finger) "Screw you Harris!"-High school's over, Brad's a vampire but some things never change.

Women good/men bad; Harmony accuses Xander of being a hair puller and 'a big girl'. On the plus side she tells Spike to drop dead.

Jeez!; The murder of another magic shop owner, not a sight Dawn should see. Also the sight of poor Dawn terrified by the insane guy is upsetting.

Kinky dinky; Dawn has a crush on Xander and wears a dress very reminiscent of the one Kate wore in 'Sense and Sensitivity'. Buffy's backless top is also worthy of note. One of Harmony's gang asks her when they're going to 'do it'? Harmony is appalled, odd she wasn't that bashful with Spike. Another of her gang is considered 'sire-whipped' but one presumes not literally so? Dawn thinks that the Slayer should wear a cool costume Wonder Woman style, if only! (I think my favourite Calvin and Hobbes joke is where Calvin writes in his school report that his mother puts on a patriotic leotard, cape and thigh boots and fights crime in her spare time. "Wow, show me that outfit some time!" remarks his dad). Riley claims that saying to parents "I'm here to violate your first born" never goes down well (unless your parents are Satanists or something?). Buffy likes George Clooney who was 40 at this stage, once again showing her penchant for older men.

Captain Subtext; Dawn resents Anya because she has Xander. She once confessed to Joyce that she'd like Tara and Willow to teach her the things they do together whereupon Joyce got 'very quiet' and made her go upstairs (Dawillta?). Now in last weeks ep Joyce didn't seem to know about them so has Dawn actually changed the past rather than just everyone's memories? Tara's little guilty look when Willow tells her she's one of the good guys is priceless. Xander refers to his 'master' Dracula and Riley is still a little jealous of Buffy's lingering attraction to him. Spike refers to Buffy as a dish. Buffy also expresses her wish to still curl up in Joyce's lap (as she did in Innocence), still revelling in maternal love and jealous of little sis Dawn getting all the attention from Joyce.

Guantanamo Bay; Spike gets another Buffybeating

Scoobies to the ER; Poor Anya get's bashed up.

Apocalypses; 5,

Scoobies in bondage: Dawn is in the show 5 minutes and is already chained to the wall. Although she won't officially join for at least another season she has all the makings of a Scooby right there. Buffy: 8 Giles: 4 Cordy: 5 Will: 3 Jenny: 1 Angel: 4 Oz: 1 Faith: 3 Joyce: 1 Wes: 1 Xander; 1 Dawn; 1

Scoobies knocked out: Anya Buffy: 15 Giles: 10 Cordy: 6 Xander: 8 Will: 5 Jenny: 2 Angel: 6 Oz: 3 Faith: 1 Joyce: 2 Wes: 1 Anya;1

Kills: Buffy: 4 more vamps for Buffy

Questions and observations; The great introduction for Dawn, at this stage we have no idea what she is and we don't know if she has any idea either. MT is so cute, she's just adorable, no wonder she made so much money from advertisements. Her top makes her look like one of the science officers from Star Trek. And the love between Joyce, Buffy and Dawn is terrific, so palpable yet not too twee, comes across as realistic rather than OTT Hollywood ideal family. We also here have a radical shift in how Willow and Tara dress, they look like they're going to some sort of folk festival or something. And Harmony once again proves her comedy value. Tom Lenk who'll eventually play Andrew appears here as an unnamed vamp. Again, would the Scoobies know what Spinal Tap was? (I had to look it up). Once again Will finds the dead body. Why don't the vamps just set fire to Buffy's house? Although it makes sense for the vamps to keep Dawn alive so that they have a hostage if things go wrong. Dawn portends that Buffy doesn't know who she is, we don't know at this stage if Dawn is aware of what she is? Surely unicorns are a symbol of good? Interesting commentary that SMG finds it hard to laugh on cue?

Marks out of 10; 7/10
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Little sisters
Realrockerhalloween4 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
It turns out that Buffy wasn't an only child as we thought as Dawn arrives and buddies with all her friends. It really gets inside her head as she sits writing in her diary about her crush on Xander, her disgust at her perfect older sister and looking up to Willow. In a weird way it tries to act like Dannie has always been there playing clue with her baby sitters, talking about how brave Xander is in a fight and next to her family in pictures. I find it strange as even her parents comment many times that Buffy was always an only child yet now has a sibling and no explanation of how she got there.

Yet I find it cute how Joyce gets on to Buffy for dumping her sister on her friends for slayer duties and rushes off to save little sis when kidnapped by Harmony's gang. The rage she inflicts on the gang and the low puns she shoots at her former classmate shows how much love she has for family. Its very consistent with earlier seasons when any evil dare approach Joyce showing they give her passion to live and fight hard to survive so she can return home to them.
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Ugh, Dawn
Quixii28 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, I'm just going to be totally honest. I did not enjoy this episode.

This episode introduces us to Dawn. I'm watching and reacting to the episodes in order. I was warned Dawn would be coming by the glimmers I've seen in some of the reviews for the previous episodes, so it wasn't as completely out of no where as it must have been for viewers watching them live. I still don't know anything about the actual situation, though.

It starts off feeling much like the episode starring Johnathon. We know that something is off and he doesn't belong, from the very beginning of the episode. But everyone's reacting as though it's normal, so you just wait to see it get resolved, assuming it's something like Cordelia's alternate universe wish. Which it is. So you feel much the same way about Dawn's appearance. Buffy's an only child, and Dawn will get resolved by the end of the episode, right? Not only does she not, but I gather from the other reviews that she's going to be around for seasonS. Oh, well, that's weird.

But it would be a lot better if Dawn weren't so darn obnoxious. I'm not sure what's worse: how she acts, or how she's treated. It's probable there's some kind of cyclical cause/effect there. She's being cottled and babied, and whining about wanting to be grown up and respected. She's apparently 14, which is only a year younger than when we first see Buffy and the gang at the beginning of the show. Thus, approximately when Buffy becomes the slayer. But she acts much younger. Also, Joyce reacts ridiculously. She expects Buffy to babysit her at all times, but also Dawn isn't allowed to see dead bodies or any slaying in action?! Dawn needs a babysitter, but as she states herself, she's "old enough to be a babysitter." I was babysitting my own younger siblings at a younger age than that. I really don't understand why they think she needs a babysitter at 14. Or why Joyce thinks it's appropriate for Dawn to tag along on all of Buffy's outings. This whole episode is Dawn whining about her situation, and/or Buffy whining about Dawn. Maybe it's just the older sister in me, but I feel like Buffy is totally justified.

Which also brings me to another thing that bothers me about both this storyline and the Johnathon one. When Cordy made her wish, all those events happened in an alternate timeline, so nothing there affected anything in "our" version of events. But for Johnathon and Dawn, supposedly all the same things happened, just with the addition of the new character. I just don't feel like that would work. Having another person in the mix has the potential to really fundamentally change things. Like if Buffy really has to babysit Dawn so often, then there's no way she had all the same slaying events in the past. It's just not convincing to me that we can have a functional storyline with something so fundamentally changed like this.

I probably would have rated this episode lower, but I've learned to have faith in the writers for this show. They've clearly been planning this for a long time; at least since before Faith ended up in a coma. And I gather that this will be definitely heading somewhere. Perhaps after I finish the season I'll have a greater appreciation for this episode.

But as of now, I didn't enjoy it. Dawn is not a fun character, being whiny and immature. The characters don't react to her in ways that make sense to me. I'm totally ambivalent about Harmony and her gangs she keeps somehow coming up with, but then she always gets away. I think my favourite part of this episode is Giles deciding to buy the Magic Box, despite the unusual mortality rate for the owners. Otherwise, definitely my least favourite episode so far.
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The One Where Harmony Tries To Kill Buffy...
Taylor Kingston2 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I love this episode so much. I just love Harmony. She was funny as a human, but as a vampire she is hilarious.

In this episode, Harmony wants to kill Buffy. As most vampires do. So Harmony gets some minions, throws a rock through the window, saying "Slayer, come out and die", and since Buffy's not home, and it's just Dawn, Anya and Xander, they say that she isn't there. Harmony gets so annoyed with that fact. And then Dawn accidentally says "Why don't you come in and say that?", so Harmony got an invitation, comes in and tries to kill everyone. But she gets kicked out. Buffy laughs at the fact that Harmony has minions, but when she finds out that her little sister invited her in, she gets furious. Harmony runs into Spike who gives her a better plan. Kidnap one of Buffy's friends, lure her out, and kill her. So after Buffy yells at Dawn, she runs out of the house and get's taken by one of Harmony's minion. Eventually Buffy tracks them down, and kills everyone except Harmony, because Harmony ran away.

Overall, I give this episode a 9 out of 10.
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weirdly strange but ...
jtsjtssmokey-703-36697314 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Does any one here remember (or have children between the ages of 12 and 17, for some age could be closer to 20), those yrs that are so wrapped in emotions and such. I remember being around some older than me (was 12 they were 16/17, mind u I looked older an "grew up" without a choice and had to learn how to giggle), but 2 of them acted younger than the rest. We all mature diff from 1 another and some at 14/15 can really be "younger" than some 10yr old.

So Dawn appears out of nowhere and everyone on the show acts like shes always been there so the rest of us r "lost" for a couple episode. With some fans just not liking Dawn cause she acts like a "baby" or whatever (umm family dynamics, some do treat the youngest diff by well coddling them and spoiling them). In a strange way the jealousy between Buffy an Dawn fits, Buffy wishing she could be coddled like Dawn, Dawn wanting to be like Buffy, an their mom treating them diff, Dawn does need looking after because their mom knows all the dangers Buffy faces and Dawn has no power to protect herself so can u blame her?? (mom and of course Buffy for being protective and Dawn for being well the youngest).

Dawn does grow up bit by bit as the season goes on, and well with KS wanting to leave, its nice to know that Buffy will have her sister to lean on (diff from her/their fam of scoobies) and to see Buffy and Dawn in each others arms...well watch and be touched (hits home with me lost my mom and my sis an I...) Well this was my take and diff view of Dawn
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Silly and Inconsistent
Claudio Carvalho5 September 2007
After meeting Dracula, Buffy commits with Giles to be her watcher and help her to find the origin of her powers. Joyce Summers asks Buffy to look after her sister Dawn, who feels shadowed being the little sister of a famous slayer and an outsider of her group. They go with Giles, Tara and Willow to Mr. Bogarty's Magic Box store and Willow stumbles in his dead body. They realize that a gang of vampires have killed the man. Sooner they find that Harmony has formed a group of vampire minions with the intention of destroying Buffy. When Dawn invites Harmony to get in her house, the upset Buffy decides to chase Harmony and her vampires.

In spite of having some funny moments, "Real Me" is one of the silliest episodes of this series. Buffy, who has always been shown as an only child along four seasons, surprisingly has a little sister of about fourteen or fifteen years old. Further, the envious girl is a complete moron, with the most stupid attitudes along the episode, and Buffy has to babysit the girl, in a totally inconsistent behavior for a "famous vampire slayer". I really did not like this dumb episode. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Meu Verdadeiro Eu" ("My True I")
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Well...at least it's consistent with the season 4 finale
s k28 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Consistently lame, that is. Again...it's episodes like this one that just drag the whole BtVS series down to the Netherworlds. Seriously...what were the writers thinking? That after 4 seasons of Buffy being an only child the sudden appearance of a 14 year old sister -- with no explanation whatsoever -- would be considered hip? Well, to anyone with a brain it's not hip -- it's stupid. And the way the rest of the cast just welcomes and accepts Dawn as if this is all normal makes it even more stupid, notwithstanding the whole thing about The Key and the monks altering memories, etc. That's very convenient...but utterly over-contrived. I also found the use of the "talking diary" to be a trite and lazy tool on the part of the writers.

I thought the season 4 finale blew -- and, in fact, it did. But this second episode in season 5 blows just as much. If there's any consolation in having 2 lousy shows out of 3, then hats off to the writers, directors, and producers. Other than that...I want the time back that I wasted watching these two clearly sub-par episodes.
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Ugh, Dawn
martaflin15 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The focus of this episode is Dawn, and that is why I find it so annoying. I think that the character of Dawn was not very well done by the writers. I have heard that Dawn was supposed to be younger, but the actor they cast (I don't know her name) was so good they cast her instead. However they didn't rewrite the character at all, making Dawn seem really immature and quite frankly very annoying.

And it is not just that Dawn is a whinny brat, it is also that everyone treats her like a tiny child. Not only coddling her when it comes to the nastier side of Buffy's life from her (when Buffy wasn't that much older then Dawn when she was hit with Slayer full blast), but also as a person. A fourteen year old with a babysitter? When I was 8 and my brother 10 we were often left home alone. But no, it is more important for Buffy to watch her 14 year old sister then to go out and try to make the world a safer place. One can almost see how Dawn became such a whinny brat. Being treated like you're six years younger then you are would likely get very annoying.
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Buffy jumps the shark
ApolloBoy1095 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
At least we got four very special seasons of wonderful writing but the minute a mysterious unknown "pretend" sister appeared in Buffy's life it brought back memories of long gone TV shows that added kids characters in a last ditch effort to save their dying show (i.e. Cousin Oliver in the Brady Bunch, Andrew in Family Ties and Sam of Diff'rent Strokes) Of course this device has been used since the days of "I Love Lucy", none-the-less it changed the dynamics of Buffy, which had always been near perfect even with the frequent cast changes.

Furthermore, as an old sci-fi geek, I recognized the borrowing of the 1977 Doctor Who's story arc, The Key to Time. In that famous season where it is revealed in the final chapter that Princess Astra is a human key (to keep the bad guys in check) Buffy should not have had a kid sister real or pretend. The character of Dawn does nothing but slow our heroine down. Plain and simple. To be "saddled" with yet another innocent she must protect while doing her job just added a strange vibe in the proceedings.

After reading up on season five and learning that DAWN is in the show until it ended broke my heart. And so, as it was was when "Prue" from the TV Show Charmed died at the end of season 3, I decided to pack up and stop watching.

Next stop Supernatural, which my niece has been telling me I have to watch.

Bye Buffy -- Fangs for the memories.
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A vast improvement over the season premiere and is traditional "Buffy" in the sense of its sharp wit. For first time viewers, this episode will be a strange ride!
SLionsCricketreviews16 November 2017
Everything about "Real Me" works much better than the season premiere. It's a more refreshingly unique episode that's structured around Dawn's diary entries of cliché teen angst, it takes itself lightly but has moments of seriousness and genuine drama without falling into tonal inconsistency and it has a sense of wonderful character interactions that have come to define BUFFY's legacy but were largely missing in "Buffy vs. Dracula". The most important thing "Real Me" does is the proper introduction of Dawn, Buffy's younger sister who without explanation is inserted into Buffy's life and we, the viewer, are taken along the strange initial journey of it all.

To the majority of BUFFY fans, Dawn is a highly irritable character and on my first run through the series, there were moments where she turned from being a wonderfully comedic foil character and/or nice addition to the series and into the territory of an exasperating presence but why she works well in this episode is because her teen angst and annoying younger sibling qualities are played for comedic effect. It isn't a happy accident that the villain of the episode is Harmony and her "heart-pouring" soliloquy late into the episode about not getting the respect from her 'minions' or others relating and sympathizing to the pressures she is under is a direct admission on the part of David Fury that what Dawn goes through in this episode is not to be taken too seriously. The Dawn in this episode works much better than the Dawn a few episodes from now when she, a severely under-developed character at that point, goes through Earth-shattering dramatic changes that the audience is meant to identify with. Here, she's the annoying younger sister of the world's one and only Slayer and her naïvely arrogant assumptions of Buffy are as frustrating as they are funny.

Beyond Dawn, there's a lot to enjoy about this episode. For one, Sarah Michelle Gellar's performance is a lot more focused in this second episode, albeit still inconsistent, but the strengths of her performance here are much more notable than in the previous. Her scene with Riley while they are patrolling and her discussing the frustration that she feels having to live around a younger sister is a more genuine moment than anything in "Buffy vs. Dracula" and it paves the way for more interesting drama here. The episode overall finds an appropriate balance between flat out humour and drama that is organically woven into the episode's narrative. I for one, perhaps in the minority, identify Buffy's treatment of Dawn as a little too harsh and her expectations of Dawn perhaps too great given how differently they were raised. Buffy was forced to adapt towards a more careful and responsible side of herself, the result of being burdened by the responsibilities of the Slayer whereas Dawn was raised (or so she thinks) as the younger sister, ever in the shadow of her older 'champion' Slayer sister. We've previously seen in "Becoming Pt. 1" where Buffy was before the powers were handed to her and the Buffy at that stage of her life would be no less careless than the Dawn in this episode. Ultimately, it's the best sort of drama where I can disagree with the main character and still be drawn into the dramatic thread of an episode.

Tara also gets a couple of nice and welcoming scenes in this episode, one nice little exchange with Dawn after the rest of the gang investigate the murder of the magic shop's owner and a scene later with Willow. Xander is delightful in this episode, both for the amusement factor he brings as well as his protective affection he displays towards Dawn. Anya, is ever so delightfully quirky and Giles gets some very much welcome development as he begins to put his life back together after the mid-life crisis that dominated his season four arc. First, he buys himself a sports car and in arguably the episode's most hilariously adorable moment, becomes gleeful at the thought of being able to show off his new car to Willow and Tara! This episode also introduces the magic shop as the next significant setting in the show as Giles purchases the shop.

Harmony is great fun here even if Vampire Harmony's appearances on BUFFY never for me measure up to her appearances on ANGEL. She is appropriately goofy and suitably fulfils the narrative of the episode. This being largely a Dawn episode and an episode about cliché but true teen angst, it is only fitting that the villain be someone like Harmony, who while the same age as her Scoobie former- classmates, and now a vampire, is completely incapable of change and occupies the position of arguably the show's most shallow character. She, like no other character, embraces shallowness as a point of pride and rides it to wonderful effect.

"Real Me" is really just such a refreshingly different episode of BUFFY. I love the narrative of the episode being contextualized around Dawn's diary entries, which both shed light on this new character as well as be genuinely amusing. It helps that newcomer Michelle Trachtenberg, who immediately finds herself inserted into the show's opening credits much like she's without explanation (yet) integrated into the show's history, is delightfully fun in the role. Overall, the episode gets everything right for a solid episode of BUFFY. There's fine character interactions, there's a traditionally witty script and it finely balances drama and humour. It's absolutely solid and a vast improvement over the somewhat clumsy "Buffy vs. Dracula".
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