Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
Her alienation and angst having grown all season, Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) finally makes Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) aware of her isolation in a most unexpected time and manner: magically, at her big sister's birthday party. The night of the soiree, Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Anya (Emma Caulfield) bring a cute romantic prospect for the Slayer. Tara (Amber Benson) also attends, giving her the chance to witness Buffy's clandestine relationship with Spike (James Marsters) firsthand. Conversation between Tara and Willow (Alyson Hannigan) proves stilted, but the ex-lovers get the opportunity to bond when a mysterious spell makes everyone prisoners of the Summers house. Attempting to break the spell with magicks of her own, Tara accidentally unleashes a demon who wounds Buffy's blind date and causes general mayhem. Anya demands that recovering magic addict Willow cast an enchantment to free everyone, but Tara vigorously defends Willow's right to abstain. Eventually, the spell's author turns out to be Halfrek (Kali Rocha), an old vengeance-demon friend of Anya who's been posing as Dawn's guidance counselor. Dawn's innocent wish that none of her friends or family ever leave her again has now manifested itself as an impenetrable barrier around the house. Luckily, after Anya summons her, Halfrek falls victim to her own curse and has no choice but to break it. The guests go home, but Dawn's not off the hook; during her imprisonment, Anya discovered the hoard of jewelry and talismans that Dawn has been pilfering from the magic shop. Originally broadcast February 12, 2002, on UPN, "Older and Far Away" marked episode 114 of the cult-favorite series. A throwaway joke in this episode suggests that Halfrek is none other than Cecily, the Victorian lass Spike ineffectually romanced when he was human (see "Fool for Love"); both characters were portrayed by Kali Rocha.