The Weight of the World (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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"The Weight of the World"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 21
Directed byDavid Solomon
Written byDoug Petrie
Production code5ABB21
Original air dateMay 15, 2001
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Gift"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 5)
List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"The Weight of the World" is the 21st episode of season 5 of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In this episode, Willow tries to reach the Slayer, who has been rendered catatonic by Dawn's abduction. Meanwhile, the boundaries separating Ben and Glory begin to dissolve, and Glory is forced to deal with human emotion.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Glory prepares for the ritual to open the portal, talking to her minions and Dawn, who is tied up and gagged on a chair. 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 them apart with magic. Willow takes command and quickly formulates a plan with both Buffy and Giles incapacitated: the Scoobies are to return to Sunnydale, with Xander taking Giles to the hospital, Anya looking after Tara, and Spike tracking down Glory while Willow helps Buffy. After mentioning that Ben and Glory share a body, Spike realizes that Glory's magic makes the humans forget that bit of information every time it's revealed to them.

Glory first attempts to comfort a frightened Dawn, but starts to lose her cool as she realizes she's feeling guilty. With Anya looking after Tara, Willow performs a spell to enter the mind of the Slayer, where she finds herself talking to Buffy as a child. Willow witnesses Buffy's memory of baby Dawn being brought home by their parents Joyce and Hank.

At the hospital where Giles was getting care, Xander fills him in on Willow's plans. Spike reports that Glory has left her apartment. Dawn reveals to Glory that she remembers the transformation from Ben; this really worries Glory, as it implies Ben is closer to the surface than before. 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 (now adult) shelve a book at the magic shop, followed by Buffy's memory of the First Slayer telling her that "death is [her] gift." 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 becomes Ben, who flees with Dawn. In Buffy's mind, the remembered scenes repeat endlessly.

Spike and Xander visit Doc for information on Glory but, noticing his shifty attempts to hide a small carved box, quickly find that he's playing for the other team. With his super speed and long tongue, Doc has the guys at a disadvantage. 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. Thinking that the creature is dead, 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 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 grant him immortality and an independent existence 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 blames herself because she thinks that 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 then returns to reality, 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.


Arc significance[edit]

  • This is the first time we see Willow assume leadership responsibility, even with Giles present. As her powers grow, so does her confidence. However, in Season 6, it is the growth of her powers and reckless use of magic that make Willow spiral out of control.
  • Buffy finally decides to confront Glory and save Dawn, leading to the events of season finale "The Gift". The episode also showcases for one of the first times, the intense, long-term impact certain events have had on Buffy's life and her perspective.
  • It is revealed that the barrier between Ben and Glory is breaking down, allowing the Scoobies to retain the knowledge that the two share a body.
  • This is the first time that Buffy's "death wish" is seen. What Buffy tells Willow in her dream about realizing that Glory will win is highly reminiscent of what Spike has previously told Buffy about all slayers having a death wish.
  • Glory refers to Tara as a 'Nummy Treat' much like Spike did sarcastically about Xander in the previous season.

External links[edit]