MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.The episode begins with Buffy saving a teenage boy from a vampire. When the boy asks how she could do that as she's just a girl, Buffy wistfully says that's what she keeps saying. The Scooby Gang, knowing Glory has the upper hand, decide to go over the information they've gained.The Key (Dawn) is living energy that, when poured into a specific place at a specific time, will break down the walls between dimensions. Glory intends to use Dawn's blood to open the door and return to her own dimension, not caring about the hell that will be unleashed on Earth. However, if the energy is stopped then the dimensional walls will go back up. Giles puts forward the solution that Dawn must be killed but Buffy refuses that as an option. Giles states that if Glory succeeds at her plan, every person on Earth will be faced with living in agony and torture. Buffy is unswayed, telling the gang that Dawn is more than just her sister; she's a part of her physically, emotionally and spiritually and Buffy will not allow her to die. She apologises to the Scoobies but says she will put her sister before anything else.Anya tries to break the grim mood by enthusiastically asking for suggestions on a battle plan to try to destroy Glory. Xander reluctantly suggests killing Ben, even though he's an innocent, his death would kill Glory. Giles points out that it's unlikely Ben will resurface this close to the ritual. No one can think of a way to get rid of Glory but Willow points out that they don't need to. She can only do the ritual once so they just need to distract her until her window of opportunity passes. Anya continues to press for ideas, pointing out what the Scoobies have in their possession that could help; the Dagon Sphere (meant to repel Glory) and Olaf's Hammer (which Buffy's enhanced strength will allow her to use). When they start to get a plan together, Buffy points out that they still have no way of actually finding Glory. Tara suddenly starts to try and leave, babbling about having places to be. Everyone realises that Tara is drawn to where the ritual is being held.Back at Glory's lair, Ben gives Dawn some clothes to change into. He attempts to reassure her but Dawn screams that he turns back to Glory. The goddess appears again and wants to know why Dawn chose her over Ben. Dawn tells her that they're both monsters but at least she's upfront about it. Glory boasts that she could've killed Buffy at any point but Ben's humanity kept her from doing it. Dawn suggests that maybe she knew she couldn't take the Slayer. Glory doesn't take kindly to this and tells Dawn that her big sister isn't coming to save her and even if she does, she wont as she'll kill her.At the Magic Box, Buffy trains for the upcoming battle as everyone else works on ideas. Knowing they can't set off too quickly, it's just a case of waiting for the right time. Giles apologises for suggesting they kill Dawn but he states that he promised to protect the world and sometimes that means saying or doing things others feel they can't. Buffy says she understands but she'll stop him if he tries to hurt Dawn. 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 a hundred times to the pair. Buffy remembers how she sacrificed Angel to save the world, even though she loved him so much. However she feels like she's being asked to give away too much and doesn't understand how she can live in a world that demands so much from her. She tells Giles that the First Slayer told her that 'death is her gift' and believes all a Slayer can ever be is a killer. Giles says that he thinks she's wrong. Buffy says to Giles that no matter what the First Slayer said, if Dawn dies, she's finished as a Slayer.Xander and Anya finish having sex in the Magic Box whilst supposedly looking for the Dagon Sphere. Whilst looking for it, Xander comes across the Buffybot that Spike had built. Anya screams at a pink, stuffed rabbit toy and Xander says it's an omen. Anya notes how normally when it's the end of the world, she'd head for the hills but her love for Xander is stopping her going. She talks about her conflicted emotions when Xander suddenly proposes to her. Anya is initially angry as she thinks Xander's only proposing to look brave as he won't actually have to go through with it. Xander assures her that he doesn't think the world is going to end and he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. Anya tells him she'll only accept if the world doesn't end.Upstairs, Buffy asks Willow if she can use magic against Glory; given that's the only time they've actually hurt Glory. Willow points out that the spells used only worked for a couple of minutes and Glory has probably prepared for that. She does however think she can reverse the brain-suck Glory inflicted on Tara. Not only would this restore Tara's sanity but may weaken Glory as well. Xander and Anya return with the Dagon Sphere as well as a few other ideas.It's time for Dawn to take her place for the ritual and Glory asks two of her minions to take her up. Dawn struggles against them and sees what Glory's crazy people have been building. A huge tower has been built where Dawn will be taken to the top.Buffy heads back to her house with Spike in tow. She invites him into the house and they both show they respect each other. Buffy asks Spike to protect Dawn and he accepts, knowing she'll never love him but appreciates how Buffy treats him like a man.Sundown approaches and the gang knows that it's time to let Tara out and find Glory. She leads them directly to the tower however Glory is there and demands to know why Tara is. Willow ambushes Glory and reverses the brain-suck done to Tara. Glory is left dazed and decides she need another brain to feed on and sees Buffy. Realising this could be a trap, she orders the minions to guard the path to the tower.Glory is having trouble maintaining her composure and believes it's what Willow did to her before Buffy throws the Dagon Sphere at her. Glory instinctively catches it, causing her extreme pain for a few seconds but she easily crushes it. These few moments let Buffy attack her and gain the upper hand, initially. Giles, Spike and Anya attack the minions at the bottom of the tower with the hope of breaking through to rescue Dawn. Meanwhile, Willow approaches a waking Tara who recognises her girlfriend after having her sanity restored. Willow is overjoyed at having her back and Tara breaks down in tears after her ordeal.Glory has regained her senses, deciding she's had enough of fighting with Buffy and punches her so hard her head flies off...revealing she's been fighting with the Buffybot. The real Buffy sneaks up on her and hits her with the hammer, the force sending Glory flying. Dawn calls out to Buffy who fights past the minions to reach her but she's hindered by Glory. The two have a running fight up the tower but Buffy is thrown off and manages to take Glory with her. Before Glory can take any action, Xander knocks her over with a wrecking ball before Buffy starts laying into her with the hammer. Glory states that she's invincible but Buffy claims she's just happy to be dishing out the pain.At the top of the tower, Dawn is surprised to see the Doc with her, having been asked to come up and bleed Dawn if Glory couldn't get up there herself. Dawn is unaware that he is a worshipper of Glory and cries for his help. He instead pulls a knife and advances on her.Giles, Anya and Spike aren't making any progress on getting through the minions and fall back but believe they're winning as Glory can't get anywhere near Dawn either. Spike realises there's someone else on the top of the tower with Dawn. Willow telepathically asks Spike to run to the top of the tower as she and Tara will knock the guards out of the way. Spike takes his shot and sprints to the tower. When he gets there, Dawn calls out to him. Doc turns around to see Spike advancing on him. The two begin to fight with the Doc proving much stronger and faster than Spike. It allows him to get behind Spike and stab him in the back. Doc questions why a soulless vampire is going to so much trouble to protect something to which Spike replies that he made a promise. Intending to make Spike break it, the Doc is behind him again, getting Spike in a hold. Spike and Dawn share a horrified look as they realise he's failed to protect her. The Doc throws Spike from the tower and begins initiating the ritual himself.After a beating from Buffy, Glory asks the Slayer to stop. Buffy replies that if Glory is a god, she'll be able to stop her herself. She then starts to beat Glory's face with the hammer, causing her to revert back to Ben. Buffy initially considers killing him in order to get rid of Glory but instead gives him a message: she's missed her chance and she'll need to leave and never return. If they do, Buffy will finish them both. She then leaves and tries to rescue Dawn.Giles tells Ben that Buffy couldn't kill him even though she knows Glory will re-emerge someday to exact revenge. Despite that, Giles tells Ben that she couldn't kill because she's a hero..not like them. Ben realises what Giles has said but has no time respond as Giles suffocates him, killing Glory in the process.Doc begins to cut Dawn, causing her blood to drip down and open a portal where demons and monsters start emerging. Buffy runs to the top of the tower where the Doc waits, excited to take on the Slayer. Buffy isn't interested and pushes the demon off the tower, easily. She unties her sister, who already knows it's too late. Knowing the portal won't close until her blood stops flowing, Dawn plans to jump into the portal believing that doing so will close the portal even if she dies in the process. Buffy stops her, realising the sisters share 'Summers blood'. After exchanging words with Dawn, Buffy runs to the edge of the tower and throws herself into the portal. She endures the supernatural energy for several seconds before she dies, closing the portal for good. At the bottom of the tower, Buffy's battered body lies lifeless. The heartbroken gang approach her and the last scene shows Buffy's grave.
- Actually a Doombot: Glory decapitates Buffy — only to be surprised that the Slayer is a robot. Then the real Buffy appears behind her wielding a great big hammer.
- Always Save the Girl: Buffy refuses to even consider the idea of killing Dawn to stop the ritual.Giles: (quietly) If the ritual starts, then every living creature in this and every other dimension imaginable will suffer unbearable torment and death ... including Dawn.Buffy: Then the last thing she'll see is me protecting her.Giles: You'll fail. You'll die. We all will.
- Anywhere but Their Lips: Buffy kisses Dawn on the cheek before making her jump!note
- Apocalypse Maiden
- Apologetic Attacker: Ben tries to be this to Dawn (regarding his Face–Heel Turn), but since it basically amounts to "I'm sorry, I had no choice" when it's obvious that he did, she's not interested in hearing it.
- At Least I Admit It: Inversion. Dawn would rather have Glory here than Ben because unlike him, the Hell God isn't trying to make excuses for her actions.
- Audible Sharpness: Doc drawing a long and nasty knife.
- Badass BoastSpike: This won't take long.Doc: No, I don't imagine it will.
- Batter Up: Anya, but she doesn't know how to hold it properly.
- Barrier-Busting Blow: Badass Normal Xander with a wrecking ball.
- Blood Magic: The Key's blood is used to open the portal while Buffy's blood — which is the same as Dawn's — is used to close it again.
- Bridal Carry: Xander carries an injured Anya this way. Rule of Symbolism applies, given that he proposed marriage earlier in the episode.
- Call Back: The opening scene where Buffy saves a boy from a vampire is a reference to the original premise of the series.Kid: H-how'd you do that?
Buffy: It's what I do.
Kid: But you're ... you're just a girl.
Buffy: That's what I keep saying.
- Willow and Tara Holding Hands to produce a more powerful spell, as per their first meeting in "Hush".
- Cannon Fodder: Glory's minions use the crazy people to block the way to the stairway.
- Cat Scare: Xander and Anya are searching the basement; Xander removes a cloth and shrieks as he suddenly finds himself facing the Buffybot. Then Anya shrieks and starts ranting at whatever sick person put a...stuffed toy rabbit in the basement.
- Chekhov's Armoury: The Hammer of Olaf, the Dagon Sphere, and the Buffybot are all used to fight Glory.
- The Coats Are Off: Glory takes off her sacrificial robe to fight Buffy.
- Completely Missing the Point: According to the Parents Television Committee Buffy is one of the worst, offensive, atrocious shows on TV because Buffy gives her life to save the world, stating it was suicide. Apparently they believe she was meant to let the world be destroyed.
- Continuity Nod: A very subtle one: Faith had predicted Buffy's death in Graduation, and in Who Are You reads the expiration date from either Buffy's or Joyce's credit card as May 2001. This episode aired on May 23rd.
- Cool Gate
- Courtly Love: Spike is now willing to die protecting those Buffy loves, even though he knows Buffy will never return his feelings.
- Cowardly Lion: Willow and her jelly-belly.
- Cue the Sun: The sunrise is the time when the portal must be opened, and at that point, Buffy finds herself standing between the sunrise at dawn, and Dawn.
- Declaration of ProtectionBuffy: We're not all gonna make it. You know that.Spike: Hey. Always knew I'd go down fightin'.Buffy: I'm counting on you ... to protect her.Spike: Till the end of the world. Even if that happens to be tonight.
- Despair Speech: Oh, Buffy.Buffy: This is how many apocalypses for us now?Giles: Oh well, six, at least. Feels like a hundred.Buffy: I've always stopped them. Always won.Giles: Yes.Buffy: I sacrificed Angel to save the world. I loved him so much... but I knew. What was right. I don't have that anymore. I don't understand. I don't know how to live in this world, if these are the choices, if everything just gets stripped away. I don't see the point. I just wish... I just wish my mom was here. The spirit guide told me that Death is my gift. I guess that means a Slayer really is just a killer after all.Giles: I think you're wrong about that.Buffy: Doesn't matter. If Dawn dies, I'm done with it. I'm quitting.
- Dissonant Serenity: After being forced to wear a sacrificial robe, Dawn neatly folds her clothes and leaves them on a chair. Averted moments later when Glory's minions haul her for sacrifice — Dawn starts screaming out Buffy's name.
- Dressed To Kill: Doc changes into a suit and tie for the big event.
- Eldritch Location: As the portal opens, a bolt of blue lightning hits a building, transforming it into an alien structure whose walls are infested with Humanoid Abominations struggling to free themselves.
- Evil Wears Black: Glory wears black, while Buffy fights her wearing a white sweater.
- Excuse Me, Coming Through!: Willow/Tara clear a path for Spike through Glory's minions and the crazies using telekinesis.
- Fighting from the Inside:
- Final Speech: Buffy whispers her final words into Dawn's ear before jumping into the portal. We hear it as a voiceover accompanying the visuals of Buffy's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Foe-Tossing Charge
- Foreshadowing: For Xander knocking Glory for six with a wrecking ball.Xander: I'm also a swell bowler.Spike: The gods themselves do tremble.
- Giles: "I've sworn to protect this sorry world, and sometimes that means saying and doing... what other people can't. What they shouldn't have to."
- Flashback Cut: When Buffy puts together the clues on how to close the rift.
- Gender-Inverted Trope: The boy as helpless Victim of the Week being saved by the cute blonde.
- Get Out: Dawn is sick of listening to Ben's excuses for his Face–Heel Turn and demands he change, shouting in a similar manner to her "Get-out-get-out-GET-OUT!" of previous episodes; "Be Glory. Be Glory. (yelling) Glory! Glory! Glory!"
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Xander asks why the Buffybot hasn't been melted down.
- The Glasses Come Off: Inverted — Giles deliberately puts on his glasses before suffocating Ben, making a point of not sparing himself the horror of what he's doing.
- Glory Discretion Shot: Buffy pounding on a downed Glory with the hammer, again and again.
- Grave Humor: Buffy's tombstone reads Buffy Anne Summers, beloved sister, devoted friend. She saved the world. A lot.
- Groin Attack: A rare female example. It's hard to see due to the pace of the fight, but at one point Glory clearly punches Buffy in the groin. And yes, it hurts just as much for women, and Glory is a god... ouch.
- Hell on Earth: Glory's departure will tear open the dimensions, causing Earth to be invaded by Eldritch Abominations.
- Hidden Depths: Despite the derision of Spike and Giles, Anya comes up with some good ideas to fight Glory, and stays to fight instead of leaving Sunnydale like she did in "Graduation Day".
- Held Gaze: Spike shares an Oh, Crap! look with Dawn a moment before Doc pushes him off the tower.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Dawn tries to throw herself off the tower so as to close the rift. Buffy stops her and goes in her place.
- Hold the Line: What the Scoobies ultimately settle on for a plan: since the ritual to activate the Key can only be used at a specific time and place, all they have to do is keep Glory occupied until her window of opportunity passes.
- Hope Spot: Buffy has Glory on the ropes, stopping her from performing the ceremony. Then Doc appears at the top of the tower.
- I Gave My WordSpike: You don't come near the girl, Doc.Doc: I don't smell a soul anywhere on you. Why do you even care?Spike: I made a promise to a lady.
- I Am a Monster / All Love Is Unrequited: SpuffySpike: I know you'll never love me. I know that I'm a monster. But you treat me like a man. And that's...
- I'm Not a Hero, I'm...Giles: She's a hero, you see. She's not like us. (Suffocates Ben)
- Improvised Weapon: LampshadedGlory: You lost your hammer, sweet cheeks. What are you gonna hit me with now?
(A huge wrecking-ball smashes through the wall and into Glory.)
Buffy: Whatever's handy.
- Spike gets clocked in the head by a brick thrown by the lunatics.
- In the opening fight, Buffy kicks a vampire onto a pile of wooden crates which splinter under his weight, sending an improvised stake flying right into Buffy's hand.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: Buffy pounds on Glory with the Hammer of Olaf again and again after she's been downed. She's a Physical God, so waiting for her to get up again is a very bad idea. Not to mention that using a Slayer's sister for a ritual Human Sacrifice is also a bad idea.
- Interrupted Declaration of Love: Buffy for The Not-Love Interest. "She's the only part of me that I..."
- Liquid CourageGiles: Need anything?
Willow: [staring at Glory's tower] Could use a little courage.
[Spike's hand comes into the shot, holding a small flask in front of Willow's face].
Willow: The real kind. But thanks.
- Love You and EverybodySpike: Ah, when you [Buffy] say you love us all...Xander and Giles: Shut up!
- Mad Oracle: Tara, who has been Mind Raped by Glory and reduced to a babbling childlike state, suddenly points to Giles and shouts, "You're a killer!" foretelling his murder of Ben.
- The Magnificent: Doc called Glory "her Splendidness" and one of her minions refers to her as "Oh, Most Sweaty-Naughty-Feelings-Causing One."
- Manly Tears: Spike spills useless buckets of salt over Buffy's ending.
- Meaningful Echo: Buffy realises the meaning of the Spirit Guides's cryptic message in her Vision Quest. "Love will bring you to your gift. Death is your gift." Buffy feared she was only a killer, devoid of emotional attachment. But Buffy's love for others gives her the courage to sacrifice her life to save them.
- "The hardest thing in this world is to live in it" is repeated (by Dawn) in Season 6, where Buffy finds real life more difficult to cope with than any Big Bad.
- Milestone Celebration: This is the 100th episode. Buffy dies. That's not a good prize.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Played with via the Previously On montage.
- Must Be Invited: Spike is quite moved when Buffy allows him back into her house.
- Negated Moment of Awesome: Doc bests Spike in combat, then faces up to Buffy knife in hand, saying "This should be interesting." Buffy throws him off the tower without even breaking stride.
- Nerds Are Sexy: After Anya figures out some good ways of attacking Glory.Xander: Smart chicks are soooo hot.
Willow: You couldn't have figured that out in tenth grade?
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown/Drop the Hammer: Buffy pulls it on Glory with Olaf's hammer.
- No SympathyGLORY: You're just a mortal. You couldn't understand my pain!
BUFFY: Then I'll just have to settle for causing it.
- Not Quite Dead: DocSpike: Doesn't a fellow stay dead when you kill him?Doc: Look who's talking.
- Oh, Crap!: As Giles kneels over a badly-wounded Ben.Giles: Can you move?Ben: Need a...a minute. 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.Ben: "Us"?(Giles calmly reaches down and smothers Ben)
- Our Dragons Are Different: A dragon flies through the rift. It's not explained what happened to it, though some have speculated it's the same one that appears in the Grand Finale of Angel.
- Our Heroine Is Dead
- Percussive Therapy: Buffy pounds a punching bag, knocking it off its chain.
- Plot Tailored to the Party
- Poisonous Friend: Giles
- The Power of Blood: Lampshaded by Spike. It foreshadow's the ending.Xander: Why blood?Spike: Blood is life, lackbrain. Why do you think we eat it? It's what keeps you going, makes you warm, makes you hard, makes you other than dead. 'Course it's her blood.
- Portent of Doom: Spoofed with Anya freaking out over a stuffed bunny.
- Pre-Climax Climax / Sex Dressed: Xander and Anya in the basement.
- Previously On: A montage showing clips from every season, starting with "Welcome to the Hellmouth", getting faster and faster until it Smash Cuts to The Teaser.
- Pun: Glory's minions rally to protect her tower.Minion 1: Stand fast! Kill anyone who dares approach! This will be our day of glory!
Murk: Well punned.
Minion 1: Well, it just called out to me. (crossbow bolt hits him in the chest)
- Punch Catch: Glory reels from Willow's magic enabling the Buffybot to pound on her, but does this trope to show she's recovered just before taking off the bot's head.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Although its fighting style is slightly less impressive, the Buffybot copies Buffy's personality much better than it did after months of tweaking by Willow in Season 6.
- Robotic Reveal / Off with Her Head!Glory: The Slayer's a robot? Did everybody else know the Slayer was a robot?
- Rousing Speech: Averted by Buffy.
- Rule of Symbolism: Buffy makes her Heroic Sacrifice at dawn.
- Rule of Three: Dawn doesn't want to listen to Ben's excuses so she yells Glory's name three times because at least Glory accepts being evil. Ben instantly changes to Glory.
- "Save the World" Climax
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Xander, upon seeing the insane contraption of Glory's tower says, "Shpedoinkle!"
- Series Fauxnale: It was designed as a potential end to the series if it didn't get picked up by another network. Whether we should be thankful UPN stepped in has been hotly debated ever since.
- Screaming Warrior: Spike charges into action with an almighty shout.
- She Will Come for Me: Dawn insists that Buffy will save her. Glory points out that if Buffy comes, it may well be to kill her instead.
- Shoot the Dog
- Sidetracked by the Analogy: Willow isn't Buffy's big gun. She's a cudgel, or a pointy stick.
- Storming the Castle
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: Giles is trying to get Buffy to acknowledge that killing Dawn may be necessary.Buffy: I don't wanna hear it. (turns away)
Giles: I understand that—
Buffy: (whirls back) No! No, you don't understand. We are not talking about this.
Giles: (jumping up from the table) YES, WE BLOODY WELL ARE!
- Super Strength: Anya suggests using the Hammer of Olaf. Spike is in the middle of saying that he tried to lift it (in "Blood Ties") and it was too heavy, when Buffy casually hefts the hammer in one hand.
- Taking the Bullet: Anya shoves Xander out of the way of a bolt of lightning, and then gets injured by falling rubble.
- Targeted Human Sacrifice
- Telepathy: Willow uses this to communicate during the battle.
- Tempting FateGlory: You lost your hammer, sweet cheeks. What are you gonna hit me with now?
(A huge wrecking-ball smashes through the wall and into Glory.)
Buffy: Whatever's handy.
- Too Much Information: Ben tries to comfort Dawn by saying at least she'll die quick. A hobbit-minion chimes in that actually it'll be slow to encourage the maximum blood flow.
- The Triple: "It might weaken Glory, or make her less coherent. Or it might make all our heads explode."
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Xander, Anya, Giles and Buffy are talking, and the sound cuts in on Buffy saying:Buffy: No... no, that's good. That could be pivotal.
- Since they had already discussed Dagon's Sphere earlier, they're talking about using the Buffybot as a decoy. And since it's an unspoken plan, of course it works.
- Unusual Euphemism: Anya's "pleasure moment".
- We Need a Distraction: Several used to blindside Glory.
- Tara is allowed to wander onto the building site. Glory recognises and goes to grab her, enabling Willow sneak up and draw Tara's mind back out of Glory.
- The Buffybot is used to fight Glory, so Buffy can sneak up and clobber her with a big hammer.
- Glory recognises this is all a distraction so the Scoobies can rescue Dawn, so orders her minions to protect the tower.
- Then used by the villains — while Glory is fighting Buffy, Doc performs the sacrifice.
- When Dimensions Collide bad things happen...
- With This Ring: Xander proposes to Anya. At first Anya is offended, thinking Xander is only doing it because they'll be dead soon and he won't have to keep his promise. Xander says he's doing it because he thinks they'll live. Anya is touched but, clearly seeking to avoid Tempting Fate, tells him to hold onto the ring until after the battle.
- You Are Too Late: The Scooby Gang are too late to stop Glory from opening the portal; only a Heroic Sacrifice can close it again.
- You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Buffy is mildly surprised when the vampire she encounters doesn't know who she is. No problem.
- Your Brain Won't Be Much of a MealGlory: I need a brain to eat.
Minion: Oh, take mine, oh groove-tastic one!
Glory: I said a brain, you worthless dirt!