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(a.k.a. The Mystery of Dawn)

Written by: Douglas Petrie
Directed by: David Solomon
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Clare Kramer as Glory (The Beast)
Charlie Weber as Ben
Ravil Isyanov as Monk
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Co-Starring: James Wellington as Nightwatchman
Paul Hayes as Older Nightwatchman
Staci Lawrence as Customer
John Sarkisian as Old Monk

Plot Summary

Buffy met the next big bad and learned the truth about Dawn

Plot Details

The episode opened two months previously with a pair of monks running in a panic. They quickly tried to cast a spell before something dangerous entered the room. They finished just as the door burst down.

Buffy was fighting a vampire outside a warehouse in an industrial park. She just finished staking him when a security guard walked up and thought that she was there for a rave. She agreed to leave but not before the guard handed her a glowing ball.

Buffy was busy making breakfast for her mother. Dawn arrived just in time to take credit. Apparently, Joyce is still getting headaches, which had Buffy worried. Joyce believed that, as mother, it was her job to worry about Buffy and Dawn instead.

Buffy and Dawn arrived at the Magic Box on opening day. Giles greeted them dressed as a wizard. Buffy did not even need to say anything. He quickly took off the costume. The shop had been open for an hour, but there had yet to be any customers.

Willow and Riley arrived soon afterward. Buffy wanted to talk about the glowing ball, but Dawn soon hijacked the conversation by talking about how Buffy did not like Riley patrolling because she was afraid he would get hurt. This hurt Riley and upset Buffy

Buffy took Dawn home to find their mother with another bad headache. Joyce did not want to go to a doctor but allowed Buffy to pick up a prescription. At the hospital pharmacy, Buffy saw Ben trying to strap the security guard to a stretcher. Apparently the security guard had gone crazy.

At the warehouse, a monk was cowering as something was again banging on the door. This time, we got to see what "the beast" was when it burst in. It had the appearance of a young woman in a slinky red dress and high heels (Glory).

Later in the day, Giles finally got a customer. He was very excited. Buffy came in with the idea that whoever caused the security guard to go crazy is also attacking her mother, although Giles, Willow, and Anya were a little worried that the glowing ball drove the security guard crazy.

Meanwhile, Glory had the monk tied up. She wanted to know where her key was. He refused to tell her anything. She started to go insane, so she stuck her fingers into another security guard's head. Light emanated from his brain as he collapsed. Glory continued on much saner.

Finally the Magic Box was receiving some customers. In fact, there were more customers than Giles could handle, so some of the other characters pitched in. Buffy could find no suspects for whoever might be hurting her mother, so Anya suggested a spell that would allow Buffy to see spells while in a trance. After pushing the idea, Willow and Giles started to try to get Buffy to back off of the idea. It was too late.

Buffy asked Riley to help her with the spell. He figured out that it was just an excuse to make him feel useful and left. Dawn figured out that Buffy was doing a spell and very much wanted to watch. She got very upset when Buffy told her go to away.

Buffy started to go into her trance. She saw her mother feeling better. More importantly, she did not see any sign of a spell cast on her mother. Even more importantly, she saw Dawn fading in and out of photographs and Dawn's room switching between a teenager's room and a storage room. In other words, there was a different spell than what she expected.

Buffy confronted Dawn. Fortunately, Giles called to say that they found information on the glowing ball. It was called a "dagon sphere," and was designed to ward off a great evil called "that which can not be named," most likely a close relative of Voldemort (actually, Giles did not mention the last part). Buffy decided to go back to the warehouse where she found it.

Buffy left the house and remembered that James Marsters is a regular and was entitled to have lines in this episode. She pulled Spike from behind a tree and confronted him. He claimed to be out on a walk, but the large pile of cigarettes indicated otherwise.

Buffy wandered around the warehouse until she found the room where Glory held the monk. She tried to free the monk as Glory sneaked up on Buffy. Buffy thought she was ready for Glory but did not realize how powerful Glory was.

At the Magic Box; Giles, Xander, and Willow were exhausted from the eventually busy day. Anya, on the other hand, was still very excited. Giles offered her a job, which pleased her very much.

Buffy and Glory fought with Buffy barely able to get away with the monk. Glory tried to pursue them, but one of her heels broke. She got angry and stomped on the floor. This caused a partial collapse of the building as she said something that looked like "$#!+" but could not be heard over the sound of the building falling.

The monk provided a bit of exposition. The monk's brothers turned energy called "the key" into a human, Dawn, so that Buffy would protect it. Dawn did not know that she was this key and was innocent. The monk died before he could say anything else. Buffy returned home and apologized to Dawn. Dawn was not that gracious, but Buffy understood. Both of them were worried about Joyce.

The Good

I liked the cinematography when Buffy was in her trance.

I imagine that this episode would be creepier if I did not already know about Dawn before I saw it.

Michelle Trachtenberg did a very good job at making plausible that Dawn might either be a bratty but innocent teen or a malevolent force threatening Joyce.

The Bad

A complete absence of Tara is almost never a good thing, especially in this episode. See Imponderables below.

Overall Rank: 98

Action: 4

Buffy staked a vampire during the teaser.

Buffy and Glory fought in the warehouse.

Comedy: 3

Giles wore a wizard costume.

Glory supplied a bit of humor, especially when she sneaked up on Buffy.

Drama: 6

Buffy and Dawn were both worried about Joyce.

Buffy believed that Dawn was going to hurt Joyce.

Romance: 1

Riley gave Buffy a little luck.

Character Development: 7

Glory has issues with the whole mortal coil. She is capable of communicating in Czech, but she prefers the language she calls "American." She desperately wants the key. She also needs to suck the sanity out of people occasionally.

Dawn is really energy called "the key" that has been transformed into a human so Buffy would protect it. This human has a bratty streak typical in younger siblings. She does not know that she is energy.

Willow is not good at wrapping gifts.

Anya has been running out of money. Fortunately, she seems to enjoy retail much better than the other characters do, so Giles hired her as an assistant. She is much better than Willow at wrapping gifts.

Spike is stalking Buffy.

Importance: 8

A new villain was introduced.

Anya will now be working at the Magic Box.

Buffy now knows that Dawn is not what she appears to be. Instead she is energy disguised as a human and that she must be protected from Glory.

Most Valuable Player: Anya

This was an exposition episode, so it was not good for heroics or for blunders. Anya is going to get an easy win for getting a job and the new stream of income that goes along with it.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Buffy

If she did not already win the MVP, Anya might have received this award for coming up with the idea for the spell that allowed Buffy to see that something was up with Dawn. Instead, Buffy will get it for getting the information from the monk.

Goat of the Week: Glory

In an episode that does not lend itself to awards, Glory gets the Goat for failing to get the monk to tell her about the key.


I understand that Amber Benson needed to be cut out of a few episodes in order to save money by not having to pay her, but does anyone believe that it would be at all plausible that Tara would miss the opening of the Magic Box even if Giles were not the new owner?

Memorable Dialogue

"My fellow ravers will be so disappointed. It was my turn to bring the bundt cake." Buffy

"She just said you look even cuter when you're all weak and kitteny, and she'd better go solo or you'd get hurt. So, welcome to the club. She'll never let me go either." Dawn

"I have all this involuntary empathy for Dawn 'cause she's, you know, a big spaz." Willow

"First off, I don't even want to be here, and I'm not talking about this room or this city or this state or this planet. I'm talking about the whole mortal coil now, you know? It's disgusting. The food, the clothes, the people. I could crap a better existence than this." Glory

"Please go." Anya
"Anya, the Shopkeepers Union of America called. They want me to tell you that 'Please go' just got replaced with 'Have a nice day.'" Xander
"But I have their money. Who cares what kind of day they have?" Anya

"So you need me to light incense and pour sand?" Riley
"Magic incense and spooky sand, and the ritual itself is..." Buffy
"Something you do alone. You sure this isn't your way of trying to make me feel less, what are the words, cute and weak and kittenish?" Riley
"Kitteny." Buffy
"Right, much manlier." Riley

"What are you doing?" Dawn
"My boyfriend, go away." Buffy

"What are you doing here?" Buffy
"Look..." Spike
"Five words or less." Buffy
"Out-for-a-walk-bitch." Spike

"I've always wanted to try this. You know, that thing with worms where, if you have one, you rip it in half, you get two worms? Do you think that'll work with you." Glory

"I have this theory. It goes where you're the one who's not my sister, 'cause mom adopted you from a shoe box full of baby howler monkeys and never told you 'cause it could hurt your delicate baby feelings." Dawn
"That's your theory?" Buffy
"Explains your fashion sense and smell." Dawn

"I just had a bad day." Buffy
"Well, join the club." Dawn
"Can I be president?" Buffy
"I'm president. You could be the janitor." Dawn


Evil Escaped

Spoiler Questions

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This page was last modified on November 28, 2012