The fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer originally aired from September 26, 2000 to May 22, 2001, concurrently with the second season of Angel. It was the final season of the show to be broadcast on The WB television network.


After an unsettling encounter with the Dracula, Buffy asks Giles to once again be her Watcher. Luckily he agrees, for Buffy is about to face mortal problems far more threatening than the undead: the sudden appearance of a sister named Dawn, her mother’s mysterious illness and Spike’s undying devotion. Then an undefeatable demon appears, forcing Buffy to turn to an ancient Spirit Guide who tells her that love is her greatest gift — and power.


Dawn appears in Sunnydale as Buffy’s younger sister. No one finds this strange, but it is soon revealed that the teenager is a mystical energy called the Key, transformed into human form by the Order of Dagon using Buffy’s essence. False memories were implanted for this new reality in all those concerned, to protect the fourteen-year-old from Glorificus, an exiled Goddess who wants to leave the human body in which she is trapped — Ben, the hospital intern — for her home dimension.

While she worked to locate the Key, she creates an army of mental patients as she fed off their brains. Buffy and her friends struggle to discover her plan while protecting the innocent Dawn, who struggled to accept who she is while Spike fell in love with Buffy. Joyce Summers dies after a struggle with brain tumor in an episode which won the series its widest critical acclaim.

Glory eventually discovers the Key’s new form and kidnaps her for a ritual that would bring down the walls separating different dimensions. This would bring total chaos on Earth. While Glory cannot be killed in her Deity form, Ben was murdered by Giles to protect Buffy and the world. Once the ritual began thanks to a demon who came to help Glory, Buffy finally understood a cryptic message from the First Slayer. As she shares the same essence with Dawn, Buffy throws herself into the vortex and sacrifices her own life for the world. She leaves Dawn with the message: “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.”

The main antagonist of this season was Glory.


  1. "Buffy vs. Dracula"
  2. "Real Me"
  3. "The Replacement"
  4. "Out of My Mind"
  5. "No Place Like Home"
  6. "Family"
  7. "Fool for Love"
  8. "Shadow"
  9. "Listening to Fear"
  10. "Into the Woods"
  11. "Triangle"
  1. "Checkpoint"
  2. "Blood Ties"
  3. "Crush"
  4. "I Was Made to Love You"
  5. "The Body"
  6. "Forever"
  7. "Intervention"
  8. "Tough Love"
  9. "Spiral"
  10. "The Weight of the World"
  11. "The Gift"


Main Cast

In order of character appearances:

Recurring Cast

In order of character appearances:


  • This is the only season in which Anya Jenkins appears in every episode.
  • This is the season with the highest number of cast members, with eight members of the principal cast from episode "Real Me" to "Into the Woods".
  • Joss Whedon has stated about this season: “Our mission statement for season five was family. When you think you’ve moved on and grown up and moved out of the house and are living your life, family comes back. You realize that they’re always a part of your life. Also a very strong message with me is you make your own family, or sometimes it’s made for you by monks. So the introduction of Dawn, the death of Buffy’s mom, the meeting of Tara’s family – all of that stuff was very deliberate. We knew year one of college was freedom and not a lot of mom. But Kristine, luckily, was spending a year in Italy, so it was perfect. And we said, ‘Perfect, then you’ll come back and you’ll be very heavy in season five and then I’ll kill you’.”[1]


  1. Ed Gross, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Turns 20: Joss Whedon Looks Back". Empire, March 09, 2017.