Buffy jumping into the portal to close it.

About:

Title: Buffy S5.E21 “The Weight of the World” + S5.E22 “The Gift”
Released: 2001

Drinks Taken: 15
Vamps Dusted: 1

 

Follow the whole rewatch here!

The less said about last week’s episodes, the better. Glory heinously mind-warped Tara, leaving her a shell of her former self and Willow barely holding it together, then the Knights of Snooze showed up to get their asses handed to them and hurt my precious Giles! After losing Dawn to Glory, Buffy sank into a catatonic state. It’s been a rough go of it for the Scoobs, and, unfortunately, it’s not going to get much better…

Buffy eagerly watching a pitcher of beer being poured into her glass.

The Buffy Season Five Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Willow and/or Tara gets witchy with it
Riley is a drag
Things get funcomfortable between Anya and Xander
Dawn is annoying
Anya loves money
Spike has zero chill around Buffy
The Magic Box has customers

Drink twice every time:

Giles drinks tea
There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house
There’s a call back to previous season shenanigans
Someone uses a payphone
Glory sucks someone’s brain

**Special finale bonus** Pour one out when:

You know WHAT happens

Onto the shocking (if it were, like, a long time ago) season five finale!

Glory talking to a tied up / kidnapped Dawn.

5.21 “The Weight of the World”

Still at the abandoned building they fled to last episode, the Scooby Gang are slowly regrouping but need to get back to Sunnydale ASAP to rescue Dawn. Spike and Xander start sniping about how best to help Buffy snap out of her catatonia, but it’s Willow who’s really running this show: she breaks them apart and calmly issues orders: Xander brings Giles to a doctor; Anya watches Tara; Spike scouts for Glory and Dawn, and Willow will help Buffy. Before they leave in Ben’s hot-wired car, Spike brings up the Ben-is-Glory-Glory-is-Ben fiasco, but he’s met with blank, confused stares. It devolves into a “Who’s on First?”-esque comedy sketch that’s just easier to show than describe:

Glory and her minions spend their night prepping for the ritual in order to give the Scooby Gang time to do their own prep, and a bound and gagged Dawn has no choice but to tag along. Glory is uneasy and uncomfortable in her own skin because the mental barrier between her and Ben is breaking down, and she’s suddenly feeling annoying things like guilt and empathy, even offering to get Dawn a pizza. Ben takes hold of their body at one point and frees Dawn, but…stays with her as they escape, which seems primo dumb. Dawn hits him on the head—finally a good idea!—but Glory returns and throws her around.

What ensues is a dizzying back and forth, spinny argument, complete with quick cuts and people-morphing, in which Ben tries to do the right thing by Dawn but still wants his freedom, Glory stomps all over that idea, Ben threatens to cut Dawn’s throat with a bottle right then and there to thwart Glory’s ritual, Glory counters with immortality and said freedom, and while Ben initially declines, his own self-preservation kicks in and he finally gives Dawn back to the minions waiting outside the alley. Boo, Ben. 

Spike and Xander visit the bookish demon, Doc, Spike took Dawn to visit back when she wanted to resurrect Joyce. He plays helpful and dumb, but Spike realizes he’s trying to hide a wooden box from them. Turns out Doc also “worships the Beast” and tosses the box into the fire to prevent them from stopping Glorificus. Then he attacks, but Xander manages to avoid Doc’s extremely long reptile-y tongue and stabs him with a sword. Spike saves the box from the fire and they leave, but they miss Doc’s eyes popping back open because, whoops, he’s not dead after all.

So back at Xander’s apartment, Willow sits across from Buffy and uses a spell to enter her mind. She encounters a little tiny Buffy (so cute!) meeting her new baby sister, Dawn, for the first time. Little Buffy offers to take care of her sometimes, and Joyce lovingly agrees (sob!).

A child Buffy holding a doll.

Those bangs take me back, wee Buffy… 

Then Willow is watching a present-day Buffy, wearing a very boring beige skirt, put away a book in the Magic Box and pause by the shelf for a moment before walking away. Willow’s whisked away to the desert bonfire where Buffy found herself communing wwith the First Slayer a few episodes back, where she hears the First Slayer tell Buffy that death is her gift. Then they walk through the halls of the Summers’ residence to find Joyce’s grave inside her bedroom. Buffy finally speaks directly to Willow, telling her, “It’s what I do. It’s what I’m here for. It’s all I am. I keep telling you, Will: death is my gift,” before she proceeds to suffocate teen Dawn with a pillow.

The loop of images begins again, until Willow forcibly brings one of the Buffys back to the “put the book away” segment. She correctly assumes that while this seems like an insignificant moment, it’s having a lasting effect on Buffy’s psyche.

Willow watching Buffy watching a copy of Buffy inside her head.

Willow deals with a LOT of nonsense inside Buffy’s head, but it looks like Walsh’s Psych 101 is finally coming in handy! 

Both Buffys trade-off dialogue in a sad and trippy revealing conversation (the editors must’ve had a lot of fun with this episode):

Buffy: “This is when I quit, Will.”
Willow: “You did?”
Buffy: “Just for a second. I remember—I was in the magic shop. I put a book back for Giles. Nothing special about it. And then it hit me.”
Willow: “What hit you?”
Buffy: “I can’t beat Glory. Glory’s going to win.”
Willow: “You can’t know that.”
Buffy: “I didn’t just know it. I felt it. Glory will beat me. And in that second of knowing it, Will, I wanted it to happen.”
Willow: “Why?”
Buffy: “I wanted it over. This is…all of this. It’s too much for me. I just wanted it over. If Glory wins, then Dawn dies. And I would grieve. People would feel sorry for me. But it would be over. I imagined what a relief it would be. I killed Dawn.”
Willow: “Is that what you think?”
Buffy: “Thinking it made it happen. Some part of me wanted it. And in the moment Glory took Dawn, I know I could’ve done something better. But I didn’t. I was off by some fraction of a second, and this is why. I killed my sister.”

The writers definitely set some groundwork in these past couple of episodes, including this dialogue, to show that Buffy is getting extremely worn down by her role as Slayer. It also helps reinforce the despair Buffy feels later, getting resurrected after finally being able to rest.

But without the ability to know what’s coming, Willow isn’t standing for this melodrama. She metaphorically bitch-slaps Buffy, reminding her that Dawn isn’t dead yet, but if she continues to sit there locked inside her own mind, she effectively WILL kill Dawn through inaction. Willow knows this is grief, and exhaustion, and yes, Buffy has been fighting for her life and others’ lives for years, so who cares if for one brief second she felt down? It doesn’t erase all the good she has and will do. This is such a good fist-pump Willow moment, y’all!

After pulling herself together, Buffy heads over to the Magic Box, where Giles lays out what he’s learned from the info in Doc’s box, a grim preview of Glory’s ritual and the only possible way to stop Glory: kill Dawn so her blood no longer keeps the portal open.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

3

Vamps Dusted

0

Scooby Gang Feels

This hug:

Stylish Yet Affordable Boots

Glory wearing a pretty red robe.

It’s impossible to get a good shot of Glory in her ritual robe, but I’m kind of digging it! It’s long and swingy with pretty scalloped edges and flowy sleeves. Gotta look your best when you’re about to destroy the very fabric of reality!

Bloody Good Snark

Spike: “Found Ben’s room at Glory’s. Didn’t learn much.”
Xander: “Wait, wait, wait. Ben? At Glory’s? You mean to say all this time he’s been subletting from her?”
Spike: “This is gonna be worth it.”
Spike smacks Xander upside the head and they both yell: “Ow!!”
Spike: “Last time, from the top.”

And

Willow: “Hey, I know you! You’re the first original Slayer who tried killing us all in our dreams. How’ve you been?”

The Scooby Gang looks shellshocked at Buffy's dead body after she sacrificed herself.

5.22 “The Gift”

The season finale opens on a classic set-up: a vampire has cornered a young person in an alleyway. Buffy pops her head out of the backdoor of the Magic Box and tells them fighting isn’t cool. The vampire dismisses her and gets a stake through the heart for his impertinence. “Wow,” Buffy muses. “Been a long while since I met one who didn’t know me.” She heads back inside as the guy she saved blathers:

Buffy walks back inside as a sexist guy she just saved tells her "but you're just a girl!"
Vamp Victim: “How’d you do that?”
Buffy: “It’s what I do.”
Vamp Victim: “But you’re just a girl.”
Buffy: “That’s what I keep saying.”

Oh, Buffy.

The Scoobs are right where they left off, rehashing Glory’s ritual and trying to find alternatives to killing Dawn, even though…there aren’t any. Giles, as usual, is trying to be the most pragmatic. He doesn’t want the world to end, and if it comes to sacrificing one newly-made girl versus the entirety of human existence, well… But Buffy is willing to let it all burn in order to keep Dawn alive, which, given everything she’s lost over the last few weeks, valid, but also…a little short-sighted mayhaps? How long and happy will Dawn’s life end up being at actual ground zero of the apocalypse?

Giles helpfully points this out, but love isn’t always about logic. Buffy tells them Dawn was literally MADE from her flesh, and that when she holds her—well, she doesn’t finish her sentence, but given how unhappy Buffy has been, I feel like she was going to say she holds the only part of herself that she still feels is innocent and good and that she loves. Giles bluntly tells Buffy she’ll fail and they’ll ALL die, and Buffy’s just kinda like, “Sorry, I love you all, but not enough to kill my sister and save the human race.”

the Scooby Gang looks bummed as Buffy tells them she won't kill Dawn to save them and the world.

Then they all just make these faces and…yeeeeah. That has to sting a bit.

Anya, queen of self-preservation, steers this dark-ass conversation back towards thinking up “creative solutions” like an uber-efficient middle manager. (No joke; she even drops the phrase “think outside the box”.) Giles and Spike are a little salty at her attempt to energize them in the face of Buffy’s emphatic declaration that she would KILL them all, but Anya follows through by suggesting they use the Dagon sphere AND Olaf the Troll God’s big-ass hammer to weaken Glory. Buffy thanks her for these useful tips and Anya hilariously shoots back, “Here to help! Want to live.”

Giles follows Buffy to her training room to clear the air. He knows telling her she may need to kill Dawn is horrible, but he’s sworn to protect the world and sometimes has to say the thing that no one should have to say. Buffy gets it. This is a heartbreaking scene between them, a weary Slayer and her weary Watcher; it’s a real reminder of all the crap Buffy has dealt with over the years. She tells Giles that she used to believe; she sacrificed Angel despite her love because she knew it was the right decision. But after five years of constant loss, after everything being “chipped away”…what is the point? Why save the world if she will have nothing left?

Close up of Buffy looking sad, wishes her mom was still around.
Buffy: “I just wish that…I just wish my mom was here.”

Give SMG all the awards for those lip trembles and nostril flares.

She ends the conversation by telling Giles the First Slayer said death is her gift, so all she ever will be is a killer. Giles, of course, doesn’t believe this, but Buffy vows that if Dawn dies she will no longer be a Slayer.

The aforementioned, imprisoned Dawn is forced into a cheap, Ren-Faire-esque princess gown while Glory taunts her that Buffy is more likely to show up and kill Dawn than save her. Glory’s minions bring Dawn to the top of this rickety-ass tower that all the crazy people Glory has mind-sucked made in their spare time:

A ramshackle tower built in the middle of a construction zone in Sunnydale.

I am sure they were not following OSHA standards.

Spike and Buffy go to her home for her weapons, and Buffy invites him in after rescinding his welcome a while back. This gesture moves Spike, as the show has been working towards his first round of “redemption” after hitting peak asshole in “Crush”—AKA making him acceptable enough to understand why Buffy would get with him after her return in season six. He promises Buffy that he will do whatever he can to protect Dawn in the battle, and is at peace with dying for this particular cause. He gets as close as he ever will to an apology for the hurt he’s caused her thus far:

Buffy walks up the stairs as Spike reveals he understands she doesn't love him, but he appreciates that she treats him like a man. Buffy just stares at him and then keeps walking.
Spike: “I know you never loved me. I know that I’m a monster, but you treat me like a man.”

I’m glad Buffy doesn’t necessarily accept or outright reject whatever THAT was; she has bigger fish to fry, so she just kind of looks at him and continues up the stairs.

Once they’re all ready, they let Tara, who is being psychically called to come help build Glory’s tower of death, lead them straight into battle. Willow makes the first strike with a reverse mind-suck spell to retrieve Tara’s energy from Glory, and it works! Giles, Anya, and Spike attack the evil minions who gather at the foot of the tower steps. Buffy tosses the Dagon sphere at Glory and attacks, though we soon realize it’s the BuffyBot! Real Buffy comes from behind and hits Glory with the troll hammer before going for the tower, where she and Glory engage in some really fun fight choreography before falling back to the ground. Xander then uses a wrecking ball (cue the Miley Cyrus!) to knock Glory off her feet once again.

Spike and Willow both realize someone is up on the tower with Dawn, so she spells everyone away from the stairs so he can run up. It’s Doc, that slithery bastard who won’t die! He’s come to help Glorificus finish the deed. Spike puts up a valiant fight, but he gets stabbed and tossed off the tower for his efforts.

Buffy uses the troll hammer over and over on a weakened Glory, and finally she shape-shifts into Ben. He declares Glory is done and defeated. I’ll admit, it’s a bit anticlimactic, but we know there’s still danger ahead. Then: oh, shit! A moment that I ALWAYS forget about is here! As Buffy races off to get Dawn, Giles sidles up beside a bloodied Ben and tells him Buffy won’t hurt an innocent, but by allowing Ben to live, she’s all but ensured that Glory will eventually return to get her revenge. He explains, while calmly slipping on his glasses, that “She’s a hero, you see. She’s not like us.” And then my main man Giles slaps his hand over Ben’s nose and mouth and proceeds to suffocate him!! To death!!

Giles takes off his glasses and then puts his hand over Ben's mouth and suffocates him to death so he can never become Glory again.
Giles: “She’s a hero, you see. She’s not like us.”
Ben: “Us?”

Again, I say: Oh, shit!

It’s brutal and kind of shocking—Giles’ face is stone-cold the entire time—but, like, I kind of get it? Giles is absolutely right that Glory would hold a god-sized grudge against Buffy. He’s doing exactly what he begged her to do earlier: sacrifice one for the good of the many.

By the time Buffy reaches Dawn it’s too late: Doc has already cut her, her blood has fallen, and the portal has opened. I love that Doc is all geared up for a fight as Buffy casually sweeps past him and pushes him off the walkway. (I guess he’s not as resilient as a vampire.)

Dawn tries to sacrifice herself to close the portal, since she knows there’s only one way to close it, but Buffy won’t let her. Around them, lightning flashes, the sky splits open, and winged creatures fly into Sunnydale to wreak havoc. Buffy whispers to Dawn as she cries, hugs her, then turns around and bravely leaps off the walkway into the ball of lightning to close it using her own blood, because she’s finally realized the significance of Dawn literally being a part of her.

No, Buffy, noooo.

We hear her last words as she is overcome and her friends sob over her lifeless body: “Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles… tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I’m okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world… is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.”

Buffy's gravestone on a sunny afternoon.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

12

Vamps Dusted

1

BuffyBot Immortalized

It amuses me greatly that the zoom-in close-up of the Slayer, which they use as the season six credit’s final shot of Buffy being a BAMF (the one they change up every season), is not actually Buffy!

The Buffybot stands in a power pose as the camera zooms in on her face.

Because as we learn when Glory knocks BuffyBot’s head off, the jacket-wearing Buffy is a decoy:

Glory knocks off the Buffybot's head and realizes she's a robot.

Glory: “Wow. The Slayer’s a robot. Did everybody else know the Slayer is a robot!?”
Real Buffy: “Glory? You’re not the brightest god in the heavens, are you?”

Bloody Good Snark

Anya freaks out when she spots a stuffed bunny in storage.

Anya: “Don’t frighten me like THAAAT! God, who would put something like that there! Is this supposed to be some sort of sick joke?” *She holds up a stuffed bunny toy* “I mean, things aren’t bad enough? This is an omen. It’s an omen; it’s a higher power trying to tell me through bunnies that we’re all gonna die, oh God!”

And

Minion #12, trying to get Glory’s attention: “Oh, most sweaty naughty-feelings-causing one?”

Stylish Yet Affordable Boots

Buffy holds Dawn's arms as they stand on the top of the tower.

I know it’s a serious moment, but I’ve always questioned Buffy’s reasons for wearing these…loose-fitting, business-casual work pants for such an important scene. She looks like she’s ready to go battle last year’s corporate tax returns and not a god.

Episode MVP Scooby

Anya is really in top form. She has great suggestions for slowing down Glory, is one of the only characters who get in some “end of the world” sex, and has a great humanizing, worried ramble that ends in a sweet proposal from Xander—even if she does slap him for asking NOW:

Anya: “You think it’s romantic and sexy and you’re not gonna have to go through with it cuz the world is gonna end!”
Xander: “I’m proposing to you, Anya, because it’s not. I believe it. I think we’re gonna get through this. I think I’m going to live a long and silly life, and I’m not interested in doing that without you around.”

Anya looks super excited as Xander shows her the engagement ring he's giving her.

D’awww. I also love how Anya says yes, then tells him to give the ring itself to her when the world doesn’t end. It’s such a great moment for them both, even if their relationship doesn’t end later where they think it will.


Original-run viewers, were you shocked that season five ended with Buffy’s death? I feel like I was very moved by it, but I had no doubt we would get more Buffy (even though it was moving networks between seasons) so I was already trying to brainstorm ways she’d be resurrected. Overall, how do you feel about season five? While not every episode is a complete stand-out like “The Body”, I enjoyed it a lot more than season four. It holds up.

Join us next Wednesday as Sarah tackles the start of season six with “Bargaining, Part One and Part Two”. What’s it like to live in a world without the Slayer?

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.