No Place Like Home (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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"No Place Like Home"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Buffy5x05.jpg
During her trance, Dawn's flickering image in a photograph makes Buffy believe she is the cause of their mother's health problems
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 5
Directed by David Solomon
Written by Doug Petrie
Production code 5ABB05
Original air date October 24, 2000
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Out of My Mind"
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"Family"
List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"No Place Like Home" is the fifth episode of season 5 of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Two months ago, several monks, speaking Czech, rushed to perform a ritual while a powerful force of some sort threatened their lives. In the present, Buffy stakes a vampire outside an abandoned building, and then gets caught by the night watchman, who thinks she's a teen looking for a rave. As she turns to leave, he tells her not to forget her glow-ball, an effulgent orb which Buffy doesn't recognize but takes to investigate.

Buffy makes breakfast for her mom, who is still suffering from headaches that the doctors can't explain. Dawn takes credit for the breakfast, telling Joyce that Buffy only helped. Joyce and Dawn bond (Joyce calling Dawn "my little pumpkin belly"), which leaves Buffy feeling like an outsider.

Giles' big opening at The Magic Box is less than successful at first, but eventually, the magic shop gets to be so popular that he can't handle it all on his own. Buffy presents the orb to Giles, but Giles can't explain it right away, though he recognizes it as paranormal in origin because "it's so shiny."

While picking up a prescription for her mother at the hospital, Buffy encounters the night watchman again as he's being strapped down to a gurney. He's less than stable, but he manages to warn Buffy that she will be attacked through her family.

A monk works on a blueprint in an empty building just as The Beast smashes through a large steel door, revealing itself to be a supernatural blond female. The Beast ties him up and tortures him for information about "the Key," but he won't tell her anything. She starts to speak crazily until she puts her fingers to the head of a security guard and seems to suck the life force from him.

Buffy assumes that the danger she was warned about is what is causing her mother's headaches. Anya recommends to Buffy that she perform a spell to reveal any spells that may be affecting her family. Buffy doesn't want Riley to feel unwanted, so she offers to let him help her with the spell. He realizes what she's doing, then they talk and agree to take care of each other.

Buffy performs the ritual in her bedroom then walks around her house to look for anything unusual. Nothing appears weird about her mother, but Buffy sees Dawn's image flashing in and out of pictures around the house. When she enters Dawn's room, Buffy sees Dawn's possessions, bed, desk, and decorations also fading in and out, as well as Dawn herself. Buffy confronts Dawn about it, and she concludes that Dawn isn't her sister. Buffy physically assaults and threatens Dawn, telling her to stay away from their mother, but Buffy's supposed little sister appears truly confused and doesn't understand Buffy's sudden change in attitude.

Giles calls to tell Buffy about the orb, a Dagon Sphere, and its purpose of protection from an unnamed evil. Buffy returns to the abandoned building in hopes of finding more information. Buffy encounters Spike lurking outside her home and demands to know what he was doing there. Spike gives a rather poor and unsatisfying explanation ("Out for a walk... bitch"), though Buffy nonetheless decides to let him off with a warning, to which Spike gets frustrated and launches a bizarre rant against her before departing, leaving Buffy puzzled. Looking down, Buffy notes a small pile of Spike's discarded cigarette butts; he must have been loitering there for several hours. Shaking her head, she proceeds to return to the warehouse as Dawn watches the whole exchange from the window.

Buffy comes up against the Beast, who quickly proves to be too strong for Buffy to handle. After taking quite a beating, Buffy is able to escape with the monk. The Beast throws a tantrum, causing the room to collapse on her, which delays her pursuit. Back at The Magic Box, Giles offers Anya a job when he realizes that the job is too much for just one, and that she enjoys handling the money.

In his last moments of life, the monk warns Buffy that she must protect the key. He tells her that the key is a collection of energy put into a human form, Dawn's form. They sent her to the Slayer to be protected from those looking for it. Before he dies, he tells her that her memories of Dawn were constructed, and that Dawn is now an innocent human who not only needs the protection of the Slayer, but also the love of a sister. When Buffy returns home, she apologizes to Dawn, and the two girls are able to relate on at least one subject - their concern for their mother.

Cultural references[edit]

  • While Buffy prepares breakfast for Joyce, Dawn says, "Who died and made you the Iron Chef?"[1]
  • Buffy orders Joyce, "I want you to relax all day, keep your feet up, plenty of Oprah."

Ratings[edit]

  • The original run of "No Place Like Home" attracted 6.4 million viewers, the highest rated episode of the season.

Continuity[edit]

Arc significance[edit]

  • This episode begins the main story arc of the season, revealing the truth about Dawn and introducing Glory as "That Which Cannot Be Named" and "The Abomination."[2]
  • Ben appears for the second time.
  • Anya is hired at the Magic Box by Giles, a job she will keep until the end of season 6.
  • This is the first time Spike sees Buffy after his realisation that he loves her. It is also the first of two occasions when she calls him 'William'. The second and last is during season 6, when she ends their sexual relationship.

References[edit]

External links[edit]