Story Code '5ABB22'
by Joss Whedon
In the alley behind the ‘Magic Box’ Buffy saves a boy from a vampire, before returning inside to her friends. Xander asks about the cliché of blood, and Spike replies that it is a symbol of living energy and the source of life; Giles attempts to make Buffy realise that she may have to kill Dawn, reminding her that she is not really her sister, but Buffy feels that none of them can understand the bond between her and Dawn: the girl was created from part of her, and she will die defending Dawn. Giles believes that they are all going to die; Anya tries to rally their spirits and Xander brings up the idea of killing Ben, but none of them want to kill an innocent. Willow reminds them that all they have to do is prevent Glory from performing the ceremony at the proper time, as she will never have another opportunity. The others become irritated with Anya, but she surprises them by suggesting they use the Dagon Sphere - which is meant to repel Glory - and Olaf the Troll’s magic hammer - a weapon that can hurt a god. Picking up the hammer, Buffy feels encouraged, then, as Giles wonders how they will find Glory, Tara begins to rave about it being “a big day”, and how she has “to be there” - they have a way to find Glory. Meanwhile, Ben gives Dawn clothes to change into for the ritual; but the sight of him disgusts her and she yells for him to change into Glory, who, after transforming, reminds her that Buffy has not come to save her yet. Meanwhile, Buffy pummels a punching bag in the training room while Giles informs her that he does not want Dawn to die, but has been trained to protect humanity, no matter what the cost. He feels they have to make heart-breaking decisions so that the rest of humanity can go on with their lives without having to do the same; unmoved, Buffy warns Giles that she will stop him if he tries to hurt Dawn. Talking about all the times they have saved the world, Buffy states that she no longer has the confidence she once had; before, she killed Angel to close another portal to hell; she knew then it had to be done, but does not have the same conviction now. She is tired of the constant fighting and losing her loved ones, and tells Giles that if she cannot save Dawn she will quit as the Slayer, because she will have no reason to go on anymore. Meanwhile, Dawn, now changed into a long brown robe, is taken by two minions up some stairs of scaffolding; the mental patients have constructed a huge metal framework, about ten stories high. Xander and Anya are looking for the Dagon Sphere in the basement when they uncover the Buffy robot. Anya admits to being nervous and terrified, wanting to run away but is unable to leave Xander; he then makes her even more nervous by pulling out an engagement ring and asking her to marry him. But Anya slaps him, accusing him of only proposing because he thinks they are about to die, and so will not have to go through with it; when Xander assures her that he believes they will spend the rest of their lives together, Anya makes him agree to give her the ring only if they survive the coming battle. Buffy surprises Willow by telling her that she is relying on her, because she is the only one to have actually hurt Glory; Willow is working on a spell to restore Tara by ripping her essence from Glory’s mind, which will hopefully hurt the Beast too. After Xander, Anya, Giles and Buffy discuss their plan, Buffy and Spike go to the Summer’s house for weapons; Buffy knows they will not all survive, and asks the vampire to protect Dawn for her. Spike swears on his life that he will, telling Buffy he knows that she will never love him, but the fact that she treats him honourably touches him - he is unable to say any more. At the very top of the structure, minions tie Dawn to steel beams set above a grill. After the gang regroup at the ‘Magic Box’ Willow tells Tara to follow her calling, enabling them to follow her; seeing the structure they are amazed at its size. As Tara enters the compound Glory grabs her, but Willow attacks, driving her fingers into Glory’s head and her other hand into Tara’s; they are struck by lightning and thrown in separate directions. Glory recovers but is confused and needs to feed; confronted by Buffy, she instructs her minions to guard the tower and Dawn. Buffy throws her the Dagon Sphere, which causes her to become disorientated; she crushes it, but Buffy advances, taking advantage of Glory’s weakened state to begin punching and kicking her. Anya, Giles, and Spike attack the minions and mental patients that guard the tower, while Willow crawls to Tara’s side and is overjoyed to find that, after a few seconds, Tara now recognises her. Glory recovers and hits Buffy so hard that she decapitates her - Glory is amazed that the Slayer is a robot, but then the real Slayer appears and smashes her with the troll hammer. Dawn sees the battle taking place beneath her and calls to her sister; hearing her, Buffy leaps onto the stairs and runs up the tower, with Glory hot in pursuit. They fight a running battle while ascending the tower, Glory managing to knock Buffy off the structure, but Buffy grabs her and they fall together. As they pick themselves up from the ground Glory begins egging Buffy on when a wreaking ball suddenly smashes into her, sending her crashing through a wall. In the cabin of the wrecking ball driver, Xander congratulates himself. Giles, Anya and Spike are cornered behind machinery, Giles certain that the ritual will start soon. At the top of the tower, Doc appears before Dawn, but she soon realises he is there not to save her, but to perform the ritual. Xander rejoins the others and Spike realises there is someone on the tower with Dawn; he hears Willow’s voice inside his head, instructing him to go to Dawn while she and Tara magically shove the guards out of his path. Spike races to the top of the tower, but Doc attacks first and stabs him. As Buffy relentlessly pounds Glory with the hammer Doc and Spike fight, but Doc is faster and throws Spike from the tower. Buffy continues beating the now helpless Glory, who then transforms into Ben; unable to kill him, Buffy tells them to go and never bother her again. Ben agrees, and Buffy rushes to save her sister. However, Giles approaches Ben, and while he comments that Buffy could never kill an innocent, he covers Ben’s mouth and nose, suffocating him. Doc is busy cutting Dawn, the blood flowing down her and opening a white hole in the air under the ramp; Buffy arrives, easily throws Doc from the tower, and frees her sister. Dawn tells her that the portal has already opened - below them the rift continues to grow larger, the lightning coming from it causing terrible destruction, as hell-creatures emerge and fly off. At the base of the tower, the ground beneath Anya and Xander suddenly splits; Anya pushes Xander out of the way of falling debris, but it crashes onto her, and she lies still under the debris. Dawn tries to throw herself into the portal but Buffy stops her, unwilling to let her sister die; Dawn pleads with Buffy, telling her sister that only her blood will close the portal; Buffy’s mind flashes back: she recalls Spike’s words about blood; the time that she told Dawn their blood was the same; and the First Slayer telling her that death is her gift. Buffy watches the sun rise, her face set in determination. Dawn cries, but Buffy tells her everything will be okay; she speaks to Dawn for a few seconds and then turns and runs along the platform. Reaching the end, she spreads her arms wide and plunges into the portal. As Dawn watches her sister fall, she hears Buffy’s voice telling her that she will always love her, but she has to do this - it is what she does. The portal collapses and disappears. Dawn makes her way to the bottom of the tower, where Buffy’s friends are gathered around her broken, lifeless body. Xander carries an injured Anya, and, as Willow weeps, Dawn recalls Buffy’s message to Giles: she finally understands the riddle of her spirit guide; everything is alright now, and she wants her friends to be strong and help each other. Spike breaks down sobbing, while Dawn remembers Buffy’s final words: living is hard, but she needs Dawn to go on living, for her sake.
Some time later: a headstone sits peacefully in the ground under a tree; its inscription reads:
Buffy Anne Summers
1981 - 2001
She saved the world
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles), James Marsters (Spike), Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), Clare Kramer (Glory), Charlie Webber (Ben), Amber Benson (Tara), Joel Grey (Doc), Todd Duffey (Murk), Craig Zimmerman (Minion #1), Josh Jacobson (Teen), Tom Kiesoke (Vampire)
Directed by Joss Whedon
TX (US): 22nd May 2001
TX (UK - Sky One): 1st June 2001
*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Anya, Tara and Dawn
*This the the 100th episode