|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 5, Episode 22|
|Air date||May 22, 2001|
|Written by||Joss Whedon|
|Directed by||Joss Whedon|
"The Weight of the World"
"Bargaining, Part One"
"There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb"
|Sarah Michelle Gellar||Buffy|
|Anthony Stewart Head|| Giles |
|Joel Grey|| Doc |
|Craig Zimmerman||Minion #1|
|Tom Kiesche|| Vampire |
"The Gift" is the season finale of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundredth episode altogether. It was written and directed by Joss Whedon. It originally broadcast on May 15, 2001. It was the last episode to air on The WB Network and therefore, the network called it the series finale. The series moved to rival UPN.
Buffy slays a vampire to save a teenage boy in an alley. The Scooby Gang, knowing that Glory has the advantage over them, make plans to try to avert the apocalypse that will result if her plans succeed. None of them have any ideas and Giles puts forward the notion that killing Dawn may be the only solution, which Buffy refuses to consider. Xander reluctantly suggests killing Ben as, although he is an innocent, his death will destroy Glory. Giles however points out that it's unlikely Ben will resurface this close to the ritual. In the end Anya suggests the use of two items that had been found earlier in the series: the Dagon Sphere, which is supposed to repel Glory, and Olaf's hammer. The Scoobies finally decide on a plan: as the Key can only be used at a specific place and time, all they have to do is keep Glory preoccupied and delay the ritual until her window of opportunity has passed, after which the Key will be useless to Glory and Dawn will be safe from her. Buffy points out the gang still have no way to find Glory, when Tara suddenly starts to try and leave babbling that she has places to be. Everyone realizes that Tara is being instinctly drawn to where the ritual is taking place, so it'll be a matter of following her when the time comes.
Back at Glory's lair, Ben (who is now willingly going along with Glory's plan) gives Dawn some clothes that she needs to change into. He attempts to reassure her, but Dawn doesn't want to hear it and screams a demand that he changes into Glory. The goddess herself appears, and wants to know why Dawn chose her over Ben. Dawn tells her that while both are monsters, at least Glory is upfront about it. Glory boasts that she could have killed Buffy at any time, but didn't because of Ben's residual humanity. Dawn suggests that maybe Glory knew she couldn't take the Slayer. Glory doesn't take kindly to this, and tells Dawn that her big sister won't be turning up, and even if she does she might not be there to save her, but to kill her.
At the Magic Box, Buffy trains for the upcoming battle as everyone else works on ideas. Knowing they can't set off for Glory's location too soon (as, if they get defeated quickly, they'll be no way to stop the ritual), it's just a case of waiting for the right time. Giles apologises for suggesting that Dawn be killed but explains that he promised to protect the world, and sometimes has to say... or do what others feel they can't. Buffy understands, but warns him she'll stop him if he tries to hurt Dawn, saying that Dawn is more than a sister to her, that their relationship is physical and she feels as though she's part of her. The two reflect on the amount of times they've saved the world. While the apocalypse has been averted on several occasions, it feels like they've done it a hundred times. Buffy remembers how, despite her love for him, she sacrificed Angel to save the world and how The First Slayer told her that 'death is your gift'. Buffy hates the idea that all she has to offer to people is death, and tells Giles that if Dawn dies, she's finished as the Slayer.
Xander and Anya finish having sex in the Magic Box's basement while supposedly looking for the Dagon Sphere, then get back to work looking for it, when Xander suddenly finds the Buffybot that Spike had built. Anya then screams at the sight of a pink, stuffed bunny and tells Xander it is an omen and it is telling them it's the end of the world, Anya also notes how normally when there's an apocalypse she would head for the hills, but her love for Xander is preventing her and as she talks about her conflicted feelings Xander suddenly proposes to her. Anya is initially angry, thinking that he's only proposing to look brave because the world is going to end and he won't have to go through with it. Xander assures her that he doesn't think the world is going to end, and wants to spend the rest of his time on it with her. Anya tells him she'll accept only "after the world doesn't end."
Upstairs, Buffy asks Willow if she can use magic against Glory, given that the only time any of them have hurt Glory was when Willow attacked her. Willow points out that the spells she used only worked for a couple of minutes and Glory has likely prepared for that, but then tells Buffy she thinks she was reverse the brain-suck that Glory inflicted on Tara. Not only would this restore Tara's sanity, but could also weaken Glory. Xander and Anya return with the Dagon Sphere, as well as a couple of other ideas for slowing Glory down.
Buffy heads back to her house to collect weapons with Spike in tow. She invites him back into her house, and they both let one another know they respect each other. Buffy asks Spike to protect Dawn, to which he promises and tells Buffy he knows she'll never love him, but appreciates her for treating him like a man. Meanwhile, Dawn is tied up at the top of a tower that Glory's minions have constructed for the ritual to open the gates between dimensions, allowing Glory to return home but setting all hell loose on Earth in the process.
Sundown approaches, and the gang know that it's the right time to leave and let Tara out. She leads them directly to the tower, however Glory is there when she arrives and demands to know what she is doing there. Glory is then ambushed by Willow who reverses the brain-suck and returns Tara's sanity before throwing the three back. Tara awakens fully restored, while Glory is left dazed and decides that she needs a brain to psychically feed on and sees Buffy. Knowing this is probably a distraction, she orders her minions to guard the path up the tower.
Buffy brandishes the Dagon Sphere and tosses it to Glory, who is obviously in pain holding it. Glory manages to crush it in her hands. In this time Buffy runs up and attacks her, initially gaining the upper hand. Giles, Spike, and Anya attack the minions at the base of the tower, with the hope of breaking through to rescue Dawn. Glory regains her senses during the fight with Buffy and throws a punch that is hard enough to knock Buffy's head off, revealing that she was actually fighting the Buffybot.
The real Buffy sneaks up behind Glory and strikes her with Olaf's hammer. Glory is thrown backwards into a wall by the force of the strike. Buffy then forces her way past Glory's minions and attempts to climb the tower. However, Glory again regains her senses and quickly catches up with Buffy. They fight on the path up the tower and Buffy desperately tries to climb higher, but is hindered by Glory, eventually resulting in both of them falling off the tower to the ground. The hammer lands several feet away from Buffy and Glory confronts her before she can retrieve it. Glory is knocked off her feet, however, by a wrecking ball operated by Xander. Buffy picks up the hammer and sets about beating a dazed Glory repeatedly with it.
At the top of the tower, Dawn is nervously watching the battle raging below. She is surprised to see Doc at the top of the tower, Glory having arranged for him to bleed Dawn if she wasn't able to make it up to him. Dawn, unaware that he is a worshiper of Glory, cries to him for help. He instead pulls out a knife and advances on her.
Giles, Anya, and Spike are not making any progress through the minions and fall back, until Spike notices that there is someone at the top of the tower along with Dawn. Willow communicates telepathically with him and tells him to run to the top of the tower and rescue Dawn, and then she and Tara use magic to knock all the minions down. Spike sprints to the top of the tower and when Dawn sees him she calls to him. Doc turns round and Spike advances on him.
Glory, after a sustained beating by Buffy, points out that she can't be killed, but right now Buffy is willing to settle for the pain. Glory reverts back to the form of the mortal Ben, and Buffy demands he leave Sunnydale and never return, telling him that if he or Glory go near any of them again, she'll end both of them. She then leaves to try and rescue Dawn. Giles approaches a panting Ben and, who admits that he thought Buffy was going to kill him. Giles tells Ben that Buffy couldn't do that, even though she knows that one day Glory will re-emerge and make Buffy, as well as the world, suffer for her act of mercy. Despite that, Giles tells him that Buffy couldn't kill him because she's a hero... "not like us". Ben realises what Giles has said, but before he can do anything Giles puts his hand over Ben's mouth, killing him in order to destroy Glory for good.
The fight between Spike and Doc continues, as Doc proves to be far stronger than suspected allowing him to get the better of Spike and gets behind him and into a hold. Dawn and Spike share a horrified look, as Spike realizes that he's failed to protect her. Doc throws Spike from the tower, giving himself time to initiate the ritual. He makes two shallow cuts on Dawn's stomach.
Buffy runs to the top of the tower and nonchalantly pushes Doc from the top of it. She unties her sister but some of Dawn's blood has already dripped down and activated the portal. It expands and all manner of demons emerge from it around Sunnydale. Dawn, knowing that the portal won't close until her blood stops flowing, plans to jump into the portal, believing that doing so would close it and save the world, even if she dies in the process. Buffy stops her; she then suddenly has a flashback of several points in the season--telling Dawn they both shared "Summers blood," her earlier proclamation that "the monks made [Dawn] out of me," and most significantly, when she met the spirit guide who told her that death was her gift. Buffy realizes that she and Dawn share similar blood, and that if she, Buffy, throws herself into the portal, it will close and that, rather than death being what she has to offer people, death is actually a gift for Buffy. After exchanging a few brief words with Dawn, Buffy throws herself into the portal, and endures the supernatural energy for several seconds before she dies, closing it. At the bottom of the tower, Buffy's battered body lies where it is found by her friends as the sun is rising.
- "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 speech to Dawn atop the tower are the last words spoken by Buffy on WB, and also the last thing that she says to her sister, Dawn, before giving her life to close the portal.
- This episode marks the first time that Rupert Giles kills an unarmed opponent.
- Giles would have later confessed to killing Ben in Season Seven, "Lies My Parents Told Me", but the scene was cut right before it aired.
- Right before leading the gang to Glory, Tara turns to Giles and says "You're a killer" hinting at his murder of Ben later on in the episode.
- Olaf is never mentioned as being a Troll God until this episode. In "Triangle" he is simply referred to as a man who was magically changed into a troll. Anya mentioned that his power was contained in his hammer, however, which makes the hammer a more valid weapon. Additionally, while Xander didn't even have visible bruises despite being struck by the hammer repeatedly, Buffy uses it in this episode to literally beat Glory to a bloody pulp.
- The hammer also seems to prove that the Slayer is seemingly stronger than most vampires: Buffy easily lifts and wields it with one hand, whereas Spike was unable to lift it with both hands in "Blood Ties".
- However, when the hammer is knocked off the tower during Buffy's fight with Glory, it lands hard on the concrete below but does no damage to the ground beneath it, something an object that heavy surely would do.
- The outfit that Buffy wore when she jumped off the tower is the same one that she wore in "I Will Remember You" when Angel walked out to her in daylight and kissed her.
- Buffy's statement to Dawn, "The hardest thing in this world... Is to live in it", is repeated by Dawn in "Once More, with Feeling" after Buffy reveals that she had been in heaven and that she feels miserable for being alive again.
- Willow demonstrates the ability to communicate by telepathy with Spike, which she will later use to give orders to the group while hunting vampires in the Season Six premiere. This ability will also be utilized later on in the Season Seven episode "Showtime".
- Willow's successful communication with Spike via telepathy indicates that vampires can receive projected thoughts even though, as Angel stated in "Earshot", their own thoughts cannot be read as their minds are like their reflections in a mirror.
- Spike is invited back into Buffy's home after being barred in "Crush". His invite is not taken away even after his attack on Buffy in season six.
- Dawn being the Key becomes a non-issue after this episode; from here on characters will mention that she "was" the Key, (past tense). Dawn herself says later that she's "not the Key. Or if I am, I don't open anything anymore".
- Crossover with Angel: Willow goes to Los Angeles to let Angel, Cordelia Chase, and Wesley know Buffy is dead in "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb".
- The dragon that arrives from a hell dimension during the armageddon caused by Dawn being bled returns in the Angel episode "Not Fade Away." The dragon later befriends Angel and is named "Cordelia."
- One vampire, dusted by Buffy
- One minion of Glory, killed by Spike
- One minion of Glory, killed by Giles
- Doc, pushed off the tower by Buffy
- Ben (and thus Glory), suffocated by Giles
- Buffy Summers, sacrificed to prevent the end of the world
Behind the Scenes
- This is the 100th episode of the series.
- The Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer... segment immediately preceding this episode is unique compared to other episodes (both before and after). Instead of simply showing the key moments from previous episodes, this segments begins by showing clips from "Welcome to the Hellmouth" in which all the main characters that first appeared in that episode (including Angel and Cordelia) introduced themselves, then clips from each episode following that one up this episode are shown. As they continue, the clips begin to go by faster until they're only a fraction of a second long. Almost the main and recurring characters from this and previous seasons are represented, and many of the show's major events are also included.
- As mentioned by Joss in the commentary for both this episode and "Chosen", this episode was originally written to serve as the series finale, and several ideas that were used in the real finale were originally written for this episode.
- Originally Sunnydale was supposed to be destroyed by the Hellmouth in this episode, but it was decided to save the idea for the series finale, "Chosen".
- The outfit that Buffy wears in this episode is almost the same outfit that she wears for most of "I Will Remember You". Additionally, Cordelia also wore a similar outfit in "First Impressions".
- It was rumored that this episode was going to be a two-hour television event called "Centenary" and to feature almost every single character from previous seasons including the entire Angel cast.
- Earlier in the season, it was rumored that the entire town of Sunnydale would be sucked into the Hellmouth in the finale. Although it has never been completely confirmed, Joss had another plan for the season. The original idea was to have Anya die in the rubble, Xander be Glory's other half (instead of Ben), Willow was going to become evil after Tara's death and join forces with Glory, and Dawn was to be bled by Evil Willow in the end, and Sunnydale was supposed to be completely destroyed by the Hellmouth.
- This episode also marks the final episode that Anthony Stewart Head is featured in the opening titles as "and Anthony Stewart Head as Giles", and is now replaced with Alyson Hannigan taking over as "and Alyson Hannigan as Willow" for the remainder of the series. Anthony Stewart Head is henceforth classed as a Special Guest Star.
- This is the last original episode to air on the Warner Bros. Network. Because of this, the WB promoted this episode as the "series finale" and not the "season finale" since the show will air on UPN for season six.
- The "Previously on..." portion of this episode, which included clips from every previous season of the show, is not on the Season Five DVD set for all region 1 DVDs however, it appears on all region 2 DVDs. It is, however, available as an Easter Egg on the Season Seven DVD set for region 1.
- It was virtually impossible to avoid spoilers for this episode, with one national UK newspaper running a "Buffy Dies!" article. Sky One even ran trailers showing Buffy's grave!
- In the original script the end would be a lot different:
- A rift opens and a huge dragon flies out screaming as it sails past the girls.
- Dawn: "Buffy-"
- Buffy: "I don't care! Dawn, I won't lose you-"
- Dawn: "You have to! You have to let me go! Blood starts it, and until the blood stops flowing, it'll never stop. You know you have to let me."
- Buffy takes in Dawn's words and knows it's true.
- Dawn takes a few steps away from her sister.
- Buffy does nothing to stop her.
- Dawn begins running toward the end of the platform and swandives into the ball of energy. She starts down.
- Buffy watches and cries.
- Dawn's body disappears in a white light and the energy goes even wilder.
- The Scooby Gang looks up in vain to see what happened.
- Dawn floats into the center of the maelstrom and is being hit with equivalent of a million jolts of electricity.
- Buffy is unable to leave the platform...
- Dawn slowly closes her eyes, and the energy ball explodes and is out of existence. Dawn disappears with it, and the last thing we see is Buffy's face...
Pop Culture References
- As Giles and Spike leave to take on Glory, Spike says, in response to Buffy's "Everyone knows their jobs" speech: "Well, not exactly the St. Crispin's Day Speech, was it". This is a reference to Shakespeare's Henry V, in which the "St. Crispin's Day Speech" appears. Giles follows this with the most famous quote from the speech, "We few, we happy few", and Spike finishes the line, with his own interpretation, "We band of buggered". The real quotation is "We band of brothers".
- When the group first sees the tower, Xander says "Shpdoinkle". This is a slang term first used in the student film directed by, and starring, the creator of South Park, Trey Parker, Cannibal! The Musical.
- Dawn, standing atop the tower with her arms bound to poles, is strongly reminiscent of Rogue in the climactic scene in the film version of X-Men.
- Christophe Beck - "The Tower"
- Christophe Beck - "Losing Battle"
- Christophe Beck - "Apocalypse"
- Christophe Beck - "Sacrifice"
- Christophe Beck - "Sacrifice" (Alternate version)
- This episode was criticized by the Parents Television Council for showing a character committing suicide. This ignored the context in which Buffy's self-sacrifice occurred.
- Joss Whedon joked at the Noctural convention in 2001 that Anya was originally supposed to die in this episode, however, he had to keep her alive because Emma Caulfield kept moving as Xander was carrying Anya.
- This episode is included in The Best of Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVD.
|Buffy - "You're my big gun!"|
|Willow - "Gun? I can't be a gun! Maybe a cudgel! Or a pointy stick!"|
|Tara - "You're a killer"|
|Glory - "The Slayer's a robot? Did everybody else know the Slayer was a robot?"|
|Buffy - "Glory. You're not the brightest god in the heavens, are you?"|
|Buffy - "Everyone knows their jobs. Remember, the ritual starts; we all die. And I'll kill anyone who comes near Dawn."|
|Buffy - "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."|
|Ben - "She could've killed me."|
|Giles - "No she couldn't. Never. And sooner or later Glory will re-emerge, and... make Buffy pay for that mercy. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that ... and still she couldn't take a human life. She's a hero, you see. She's not like us."|