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The Weight of the World

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 5, Episode 21
521 WotW
Air date May 15, 2001
Written by Douglas Petrie
Directed by David Solomon
Episode Guide
"The Gift"
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Emma Caulfield Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn
James Marsters Spike
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Special Guest Starring
Joel Grey Doc
Guest Starring
Clare Kramer Glory
Charlie Weber Ben
Dean Butler Hank Summers
Lily Knight Gronx
Bob Morrisey Crazy #1
Amber Benson Tara
Kristine Sutherland Joyce Summers
Co Starring
Todd Duffey Murk
Alexandra Lee Young Buffy
Paul Bates Crazy #2
Carl J. Johnson Crazy #3
Matthew Lang High Priest Minion
Sharon Ferguson Primitive

"The Weight of the World" is the twenty-first episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the ninety-ninth episode altogether. It was written by Douglas Petrie and directed by David Solomon. It originally broadcast on May 15, 2001.

Willow tries to reach Buffy, who has been rendered catatonic by Dawn's abduction by Glory. Meanwhile, Glory is having her own problems as the line between herself & Ben gets thinner, causing her to start feeling human emotions.


521 WotW1

A bound and gagged Dawn in Glory's captivity.

Glory prepares for the ritual to open the portal, talking to her minions and Dawn, who has no choice but to listen, as she's tied up and gagged. Spike reports that he can't see Glory anywhere, but the gang has a new problem as Buffy has been reduced to a state of catatonia. Spike tries to violently shake Buffy back to normal, which only leads to a fight with Xander, and Willow forces the two guys apart with magic. With Buffy and Giles out of commission, Willow takes command and lays out a plan: the Scoobies will return to Sunnydale, where Xander will take Giles to the hospital, Anya will look after Tara, and Spike will track down Glory while Willow tries to help Buffy. Spike asks what to do if they run into Ben, only for everyone to get confused and tell Spike that Buffy doesn't need a doctor at the moment. Spike tries to remind them that Ben is Glory, and transformed into her right in front of them. However, no-one is able to recall this and seem unable to grasp the idea. Spike then realizes that a spell must be in effect that protects the information that Glory and Ben share a body from humans (being a vampire, Spike is immune).

Glory first attempts to comfort a frightened Dawn, but starts to lose her cool as she realizes she's feeling guilty. Willow prepares herself for a spell that will allow her into the mind of the Slayer. Things go as planned and Willow finds herself talking to a young Buffy. Willow witnesses Buffy's memory of baby Dawn being brought home by Joyce and Hank.

521 WotW2

Joyce: Yes, Buffy, you can take care of her.

At the hospital where Giles was getting care, Xander fills him in on Willow's plans. Spike returns after investigating Glory's apartment with little information on her whereabouts. Dawn reveals to Glory that she remembers the transformation from Ben. This really worries Glory as she realizes Ben is closer to the surface than before; indeed, the power that separates Ben and Glory's memories and personalities has started to dissolve, and the Scoobies gradually recall the memory of Ben transforming into Glory. She asks to have Ben taken out of her body, but it is the punishment she must face for her crime. In Buffy's mind, Willow watches Buffy shelve a book at the Magic Box, followed by Buffy's memory of the First Slayer telling her that "death is [her] gift."

Glory brags to Dawn about her superiority but Dawn knows there is one person who can beat the god: Buffy. Meanwhile, in Buffy's mind, Willow visits a 20-year-old Buffy at her house. Buffy calmly acknowledges that death is her gift, before going to Dawn's room and smothering the young girl with a pillow, much to Willow's horror. Glory finds her body taken over by Ben and after some encouragement from Dawn, Ben takes her and runs. Willow watches as scenes from earlier begin to repeat and baby Dawn is brought home again.

Spike and Xander visit Doc for information on Glory, however Xander suddenly remembers that Glory and Ben are sharing a body, signifying that the spell protecting the information is weakening. The two then notice Doc's shifty attempts to hide a small carved box, quickly find that he also worships Glory. With his super speed and long tongue, Doc has the guys at a disadvantage.

521 WotW3

Buffy: Death is my gift.

He throws the box into the fireplace and attacks. Spike is able to recover the box while Xander stabs the reptilian creature with a sword. The two leave with the box, but after they've gone, Doc's eyes open. In Buffy's mind, before Buffy can go to kill Dawn again, Willow stops her and asks her why.

A good distance away from Glory's hideout, Dawn breaks away from Ben and knocks him out with a chain, but this only allows Glory to re-emerge. Ben and Glory battle for control of the body until Glory strikes up a deal: if Ben cooperates in sacrificing Dawn, Glory will ensure that Ben will not die after the ritual is completed, and will grant him immortality and an independent existence away from her. Out of self-preservation, Ben agrees, and hands Dawn over to Glory's minions.

Willow asks Buffy what is the significance of the seemingly mundane scene of placing a book on a shelf. Buffy explains that was the exact moment when, in her heart, she gave up hope of defeating Glory. Buffy reveals to Willow that she gave up in her heart and that she thinks she is the reason Glory has Dawn and Dawn will soon die. Willow tells her that it's not over yet and she can still do something to stop it.

Buffy finally comes out of her state, crying and collapsing into Willow's arms. As they return to the magic shop, Xander tells Buffy that Ben and Glory are one and the same. After reviewing the information Spike stole from Doc, Giles reveals that a bloodletting ceremony will occur to open the portal, and once it begins there is only one way to stop it: Dawn must be killed.


  • Buffy finally decided to confront Glory and save Dawn.
  • An explanation of why Dawn didn't remember Ben's transformation in "Blood Ties" is provided.
  • The barrier between Ben and Glory was breaking down. This allowed the Scoobies to retain the knowledge that the two shared a body. 
  • With the breaking down of the barrier between them, Ben and Glory begin to show personality traits of the other, with Glory showing kindness, and Ben displaying self-centered ideals.
  • Upon seeing the First Slayer, Willow recalled when she had tried to kill all of them in their dreams in "Restless."
  • Willow again took on a leadership role when Buffy was unable to do so.[1]
  • Willow told Buffy to "snap out of it!" This was a line Cordelia Chase used in the past.
  • Willow, in Buffy's mind, attends the conversation between First Slayer and Buffy shown in Intervention
  • Doc demon reappears and refers to Dawn's attempt to resurrect Joyce in Forever.
  • We have the second depiction of Buffy as a child, this time portrayed by Alexandra Lee.



Behind the Scenes


  • Joel Grey is credited as a "Special Guest Star" for his appearance as Doc. He was only credited as a guest star for his appearances in "Forever" and "The Gift".


International titles

  • French: Sans espoir (Hopeless)
  • German: Die Last der Welt (The Weight of the World)


  • This episode is a Willow-centric episode.


Glory - "Funny. 'Cause I look around at this world you're so eager to be a part of, and all I see is six billion lunatics looking for the fastest ride out. Who's not crazy? Look around - everyone's drinking, smoking, shooting up ... shooting each other, or just plain screwing their brains out 'cause they don't want 'em any more. I'm crazy? Honey, I'm the original one-eyed chicklet in the kingdom of the blind 'cause at least I admit the world makes me nuts. Name one person who can take it here. That's all I'm asking. Name one."
Dawn - "Buffy."
Spike - "Is everyone here very stoned?"
Spike - "Ben, Glory. He's a doctor, she's the Beast. Two entirely separate entities sharing one body. It's like a bloody sitcom."
Xander - "How you doin'?"
Giles - "It only hurts when I answer pointless questions."
Spike - "This is gonna be worth it." [slaps Xander, both shout in pain]
Doc - "What can I do for you boys? Want some cocoa?"
Spike - "No. We need information. We need ..."
Xander - "Ben's Glory!"
Doc - "Who's what?"
Spike - "Look at this. Special Ed remembers."
Xander - "Yeah. I do. Ben's Glory, and Glory's Ben. It's like this fog's liftin'."
Spike - "Wonderful. But not why we're here."
Buffy - "This was when I quit, Wil."
Willow - "You did?"
Buffy - "Just for a second. I remember. I was in the Magic Box. 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. And in that second of knowing it, Wil? 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 - "My 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."
Willow - "I think Spike was right back at the gas station. Snap out of it!"
Buffy - "What?"
Willow - "All this. It has a name. It's called guilt. It's a feeling, and it's important. But it's not more than that, Buffy. Buffies. You've carried the weight of the world on your shoulders since high school and I--I know you didn't ask for this but you do it, every day. And so you wanted out for one second. So what?"


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