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Recap / Buffy the Vampire Slayer S5E22 "The Gift"

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The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.

Written & Directed by Joss Whedon

The episode begins with Buffy saving a teenage boy from a vampire in the alley behind the Magic Box. 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, as 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 turn back to Glory. The goddess appears again and wants to know why Dawn chose her over Ben. Dawn tells her that she and Ben are 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'll fail, as Glory will 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 keeping her from going. She talks about her conflicted emotions when Xander suddenly proposes to her. Anya is initially angry; 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 she is the only one to ever 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 it 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 appreciating 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. Glory spots her and demands to know what Tara is doing there. Willow ambushes Glory and reverses the brain-suck done to Tara. Glory is left dazed and in need of another brain to feed on, and, seeing Buffy, decides to eat the Slayer. Realising this could be a trap, she orders the minions to guard the path to the tower.

Glory is having trouble maintaining her composure thanks to 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 Olaf's Hammer, the force sending Glory flying. Dawn calls out to Buffy, who fights past the minions to reach her, before Glory rejoins the fight. The two have a running fight up the tower. Buffy is thrown off, but manages to take Glory with her. Before Glory can take any action, Xander knocks her over with a wrecking ball and 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 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 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 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; Spike replies that he made a promise. Intending to make Spike break it, Doc gets behind him again, getting Spike in a hold. Spike and Dawn share a horrified look as they realise he's failed to protect her. 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.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • 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.
  • All for Nothing: Glory is dead by the time Doc begins the ritual on her behalf.
  • 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.
    • In the climax, Dawn prepares to die so as to stop the portal. Buffy stops her and realizes that she can jump in Dawn's place. Dawn protests, but Buffy reassures her and makes the jump.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Buffy kisses Dawn on the cheek before making her jump.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Dawn's blood is the Key to the doors between dimensions.
  • 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.
    • Giles tells Ben that Buffy will never take a human life, as he puts on his glasses with clear regret. While Giles doesn't like killing, he doesn't hesitate to smother Ben so that Glory is gone for good.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Glory loses if she misses her window of opportunity to open her portal. Slowing her down is the Scoobies' main tactic, achieved largely by through throwing everything they have at her. It works: Glory is sufficiently weakened by Willow's draining spell, a wrecking ball to the face, and Buffy's relentless onslaught, succumbing to her wounds and morphing back into Ben, who is then finished off by Giles.
  • 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, nor was someone she previously trusted.
  • Audible Sharpness: Doc drawing a long and nasty knife.
  • Badass Boast
    Spike: 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.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Giles has had his share of action, but he murders Ben so that Glory can't re-emerge and take her revenge on Buffy.
  • Big "NO!": Dawn screams this when Buffy realizes the same blood runs through their veins, and that Buffy can die to close the portal.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Both Giles and Xander get one in, after Buffy says she loves all of them, but refuses to sacrifice Dawn to save the world.
    Spike: Uh, when you say you love us all-
    Giles & Xander: Shut up!
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Buffy's blood being used to make Dawn's human form ends up making her a viable candidate to close the portal.
  • The Coats Are Off: Glory takes off her sacrificial robe to fight Buffy.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When Buffy refuses to kill an injured Ben, Giles steps up to do the task. He makes sure she's too far away and distracted before putting on his glasses and smothering Ben.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The Previously on… turns into a rapid-fire Clip Show of the entire series up until this point.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • A very subtle one: Faith had predicted Buffy's death in "Graduation Day" 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.
    • When Anya suggests using Olaf's hammer against Glory, Spike starts to object that it's too heavy to be picked up having failed when he tried to lift it back in "Blood Ties". He's interrupted mid-sentence by Buffy effortlessly lifting it off the shelf.
  • Cool Gate: Glory's trying to create a Gate back to her own dimension, but unfortunately it's not as neat as a simple door to walk through—the only way is to tear down the barriers between all dimensions.
  • Courtly Love: Spike is willing to die protecting those Buffy loves, even though he believes 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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Doc had just finished beating down Spike, throwing him from the top of the tower to prevent him from rescuing Dawn from the impending ritual sacrifice. Minutes later, along comes Buffy. The stage is set for a momentous battle, but before the villain could finish saying, "This should be interesting", Buffy walks right past him and shoves him off the tower without seeming to pay him the slightest bit of attention.
  • Declaration of Protection
    Buffy: 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.note  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.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Doc, for all of twenty seconds.
  • Dressed to Kill: Doc changes into a suit and tie for the big event.
  • Drop the Hammer: Buffy takes Anya's suggestion and wields Olaf's enchanted warhammer against Glory.
  • 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 Eldritch Abominations struggling to free themselves.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Glory reveals to Dawn that the ritual to activate the Key can only be stopped if Dawn herself dies, so even if Buffy does show up, it may very well be to kill her rather than save her. Glory couldn't be more wrong; Buffy adamantly refuses to even consider killing her own sister, even to save the world.
  • 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.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: As Dawn argues with Buffy that she needs to jump to close the portal, she mentions that the Key's blood is the only thing that will do it. Buffy then touches Dawn's hand and repeats, "Summers blood." Dawn realizes what she's insinuating and gives a Big "NO!", because their having the same blood means that Buffy's death can close the portal.
  • Fighting from the Inside:
    • Glory tells Dawn not to be too hard on Ben, as it was probably him stopping her from just killing Buffy and her family.
    • A subtle example. Tara, driven insane by Glory, suddenly slaps Willow and calls her a bitch. She then tries to have a My God, What Have I Done? moment, but can't.
  • 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.
    • For Giles killing Ben to destroy Glory after Buffy spares him.
      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.
    • When Xander first floats the possibility of killing Ben, the only person to even answer is Giles, who doesn't actually object to the act itself but simply points out that it's unlikely they'll be able to get to Ben this close to the ritual.
    • As the gang is leaving the Magic Box, Tara points at Giles and says "You're a killer! This has all been set down..." as if she knows that he is the only one with it in him to kill Ben.
  • 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.
    Anya: Maybe Willow wanted it.
    Xander: I don't think Willow feels that way about Buffy. I mean, I know she's gone through a lot of changes, but—
    Anya: To study it.
    Xander: Right. Robotics. [embarrassed] Science.
    Anya: [beat] Pervert.
    Xander: Other pervert.
  • 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.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Buffy pounding on a downed Glory with the hammer, again and again.
  • Grand Finale: For the series on The WB.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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 Am a Monster / All Love Is Unrequited: Spuffy
    Spike: 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 Gave My Word
    Spike: 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 Owe You My Life: Averted. Giles doesn't give Ben any special consideration for having saved him back in "Spiral".
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Subverted. When Buffy asks Willow if she needs anything right before the gang confronts Glory, Willow admits that she could use some courage. Spike promptly offers her a flask, and she clarifies that she meant the real kind of courage, but thanks him for the offer nonetheless.
  • Idiot Ball: Dawn robs Spike of the element of surprise against Doc by screaming his name as he approaches the pair. He loses the ensuing scuffle and Doc is able to activate Glory's portal.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Giles decides not to expose Buffy to these moral questions with Ben/Glory, and kills Ben/Glory himself.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...
    Giles: She's a hero, you see. She's not like us. [suffocates Ben]
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Lampshaded
      Glory: 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.
  • Ironic Echo: Spike mockingly refers to Xander as a glorified bricklayer. He uses this in a Bond One-Liner after nailing Glory with a wrecking ball:
    Xander: And the glorified bricklayer picks up a spare.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Buffy for The Not-Love Interest. "She's the only part of me that I..."
  • 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.
  • Liquid Courage
    Giles: 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.
  • 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!" ... which could be a reference to his Dark and Troubled Past, but also 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, upon seeing Buffy's body.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Buffy realises the meaning of the Spirit Guide'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.
  • Morton's Fork: Buffy says bluntly that if Dawn dies, she's done with being a Slayer. She'll quit the vampire work. It turns out the other solution to let Dawn live is for Buffy to jump in her place and die. That means she quit Slayer work, in a sense.
  • 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 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: [wistful smile] You couldn't have figured that out in tenth grade?
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If Glory hadn't mind-sucked Tara a few episodes ago, Tara wouldn't have been able to lead the Scoobies to the ritual site.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Buffy pulls it on Glory with Olaf's hammer.
  • No Sympathy
    Glory: You're just a mortal. You couldn't understand my pain!
    Buffy: Then I'll just have to settle for causing it.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: Buffy has defeated Glory, who reverts to bacl Ben. Buffy can't kill an innocent human even if that means a powerful Demon God will be able to return to menace everybody again. Enter Giles.
    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.
    [Giles calmly smothers Ben to death]
  • Not Quite Dead: Doc.
    Spike: 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]
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Buffy flat-out tells him to the face that they are not talking about killing Dawn to stop Glory, at which point Giles loses his temper and screams "YES, WE BLOODY WELL ARE!!" at the top of his voice. Cue shocked reactions and gaping mouths from all the other Scoobies.
  • 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: The Scoobies each use their skills to fight Glory and her minions
  • Portent of Doom: Spoofed with Anya freaking out over a stuffed bunny.
  • The Power of Blood: Spike basically lays out the trope.
    Xander: Why blood? Why Dawn's blood? I mean, why couldn't it be like a, a lymph ritual?
    Spike: 'Cause it's always got to be blood.
    Xander: We're not actually discussing dinner right now.
    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.
  • Pre-Climax Climax / Sex Dressed: Xander and Anya in the basement.
  • Previously on…: A montage showing clips from every episode, starting with "Welcome to the Hellmouth", getting faster and faster until it Smash Cuts to The Teaser. Sadly left off of most home releases.
  • 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.
  • Revisiting the Roots: The episode ends with a battle against a demonic god for the fate of reality... but starts with Buffy killing a vampire in an alleyway. This is after she'd already blown up a giant demon snake in season three and fought off a man-made demon-cyborg in season four. Buffy even lampshades this by pointing out she hadn't done something so simple in a while.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Although its fighting style is slightly less impressive, the Buffybot copies Buffy's personality much better than it will 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.
    Buffy: Hey, everybody knows their jobs. Remember, the ritual starts, we all die. And I'll kill anyone who comes near Dawn.
    Spike: Well, not exactly the St. Crispin's Day speech, was it?
    Giles: [wryly] "We few, we happy few..."
    Spike: We band of buggered.
  • 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.
  • Sadistic Choice: Buffy has to chose between her sister, or the whole of reality. She takes the third option - Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Xander, upon seeing the insane contraption of Glory's tower says, "Shpedoinkle!"
  • Seal the Breach: Glory succeeds in opening the portal, and the challenge for the heroes becomes how to seal it again.
  • Series Fauxnale: As mentioned by Joss Whedon in the DVD Commentaries 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.
  • 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: The only way to be rid of Glory for good is to kill Ben. Buffy settles for just telling him to never come back, and then Giles calmly comes along behind her to smother Ben.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: 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 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".
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Near the end of their showdown, Glory starts breaking down and going off on a whiny tangent. Considering all of the hell Glory put her through throughout the season, Buffy's not having any of it and literally beats Glory to a bloody pulp.
    Glory: You're just a mortal. You can't understand my pain!
    Buffy: Then I guess I'll just have to settle for causing it. [bashes Glory with the hammer]
    Glory: You can't kill me.
    Buffy: Maybe not... but my arm's not even tired yet. [bashes Glory again]
    [eventually, Glory is on her knees]
    Glory: Stop it!
    Buffy: You're a god. [uppercuts Glory with the hammer] Make it stop!
    • Buffy approaches Doc atop a tower. He gears up for a fight, and she just knocks him off the tower.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: Willow isn't Buffy's big gun. She's a cudgel, or a pointy stick.
  • Sparing Them the Dirty Work: Giles kills Ben, knowing Buffy can't bring herself to do it, to stop Glory from coming back.
  • 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.
  • Take a Third Option: Buffy is faced with a choice: allow Dawn to die and save all of reality, or save her sister and allow the multiverse to perish. She chooses to sacrifice her own life instead, as her blood can close the portal as well as Dawn's can.
  • Taking the Bullet: Anya shoves Xander out of the way of a bolt of lightning, and then gets injured by falling rubble.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: When Glory stops to gloat during the final fight, on a construction site, Xander manages to send her through a wall with a wrecking ball.
  • Targeted Human Sacrifice: With the Key rendered into human form, the only way to activate it is to spill Dawn's blood—and no one else will do.
  • Telepathy: Willow uses this to communicate during the battle.
  • Tempting Fate
    Glory: 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.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: You can see the hope fall from Dawn's face the moment Doc's speech gives away his loyalties.
  • 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 Olaf's Hammer and the 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."
  • Villains Want Mercy: Glory, having finally met her match thanks to Buffy using Olaf's hammer, starts begging Buffy to stop. Considering all of the hell Glory put her through, up to and including kidnapping Dawn and openly threatening Buffy's loved ones and friends, Buffy will have none of it:
    Buffy: You're a god. Make it stop. [proceeds to beat Glory into a bloody pulp]
  • We Are Not Going Through That Again: Buffy references how she had to sacrifice Angel to stop the apocalypse. She bluntly says that she can't handle it again; Dawn may not have existed until several months prior, but now she is every bit her sister and own flesh and blood.
  • 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.
  • Wham Episode: While the Scoobies manage to kill Glory/Ben, the Doc somehow comes back to life and opens the dimensional portal. However, Buffy sacrifices herself in place of Dawn to save the world. Anya and Xander also get engaged.
  • When Dimensions Collide: Glory is trying to re-enter its dimension, but such effort would cause all dimensions to collide (thus destroying the Multiverse). Small glimpses of this process can be seen when places on Earth get changed and twisted and creatures from other dimensions including Cenobite-like demons and a dragon enter our realm.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To the Inferno (1988) story arc by Marvel Comics, in which a tower is a focal point to open a dimensional portal that unleashes hell-demons to invade the world, and requires a sacrifice to permanently open the portal, but a different sacrifice re-closes the portal back permanently.
  • 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. Her first instinct will prove to be the correct one.
  • 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.
    Buffy: You ever heard the expression, "biting off more than you can chew"? ...Okay, um, how about the expression "Vampire Slayer"?
    Vampire: What the hell are you talking about?
    Buffy: Wow. Never heard that one? Okay, how about, "Oh God, my leg, my leg?" [breaks his leg]
    Vampire: Oh God, my leg!
  • Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal
    Glory: I need a brain to eat.
    Minion: Oh, take mine, oh groove-tastic one!
    Glory: I said a brain, you worthless dirt!