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The GIFT (ep #5.22)

(a.k.a. Death)

Written by: Joss Whedon
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers and the Buffybot
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
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
Charlie Weber as Ben
Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
Joel Grey as Doc
Co-Starring: Todd Duffey as Murk
Craig Zimmerman as Minion #1
Josh Jacobson as Teen
Tom Kiesche as Vampire

Plot Summary

Buffy and her friends once again save the world, but, this time, at the cost of her life.

Plot Details

The episode opened with a teen fleeing down an alley only to come to a dead end. The vampire pursuing him started to taunt him when a young blonde woman interrupted. The vampire initially told Buffy to leave but soon decided he would not mind an appetizer. He appeared to be the last vampire in Sunnydale who did not recognize her. She soon made an impression.

Buffy went back into the Magic Box and insisted that Giles repeat what he said at the end of "The Weight of the World" for those in the audience who were lucky enough to have missed that episode. The key energy needed to be poured into the right spot at the right time to open barriers between dimensions. When it does so, there will be all sorts of chaos that will end when the energy stops pouring. That is, when Dawn dies.

Buffy decided that they were not going to discuss the possibility of killing Dawn, but Giles realized that they might have to. Anya tried to call for ideas, such as Willow turning Glory into a toad. However, Tara was the only one who responded. Xander raised the idea of killing Ben, but he withdrew it immediately.

Anya kept calling for ideas, but both Spike and Giles tried to shut her up. She then proposed some ideas of her own, such as the dagon sphere and Olaf's hammer. For once, the characters actually had some hope.

Ben carried some special clothes to Dawn to put on. She was not inclined to be cooperative. She did not want to deal with Ben and demanded that he switch to Glory. Dawn was convinced that her sister could beat Glory, but Glory suggested that, if Buffy came, it would be to kill Dawn, not rescue her. A bit later, Dawn was in the special clothes and was dragged to a tower.

Buffy and Giles talked. She still insisted that she would stop any of the characters if they tried to kill Dawn. She was getting frustrated with her life as a slayer and was ready to quit if anything happened to Dawn.

Xander and Anya were in the basement of the Magic Box not looking for the dagon sphere. Unfortunately, Anya was still tense. Xander was startled to find the Buffybot there. Anya was even more startled to find a stuffed rabbit down there. She was quite upset, so Xander proposed to her. She was at first offended because she thought it meant that he thought he wanted to make a romantic gesture before they die. She said yes when he said that he expected to survive.

Buffy asked Willow to be the "big gun," but Willow was not convinced that she could. Willow did have an idea that would both restore Tara and weaken Glory at the same time. Afterward, Buffy brought Spike to her house for weapons and even invited him in.

Tara led Willow to the site where Dawn was to be opened. The others followed closely behind. Glory confronted Tara at the site. Willow then stepped up and stuck a hand into each of their heads. There was some special light effects, and all three were thrown backward.

Tara appeared to be her old self, but Glory got up needing a brain to suck. She decided that she wanted Buffy's but did not advance toward her. Apparently, the dagon sphere was repelling Glory. Buffy tossed it at Glory and then attacked. Meanwhile, Spike, Giles, Anya, and Xander arrived at the scene to join the fight.

Glory had enough of the fighting and decapitated what she thought was Buffy. It turned out to be the Buffybot. For a moment, Glory actually thought that Buffy was a robot, until the real Buffy showed up. Unfortunately for Glory, the real Buffy had Olaf's hammer. After knocking Glory down with one blow, Buffy started up the tower. Glory managed to catch up with her and fought again.

Glory eventually knocked Buffy off the tower, but Buffy pulled Glory down with her. Glory thought that she had the advantage against a hammerless Buffy, but Xander sent a wrecking ball right into Glory. Buffy recovered the hammer and pounded away on Glory again.

Dawn saw Doc on the tower and thought that he was there to help her. He had other ideas and produced a knife. Spike noticed someone up there but did not know how to get through the mass of minions and crazies. Willow telepathically told him to charge. As he did, she and Tara cleared a path for Spike to take.

Spike charged Doc only to find Doc behind him and Doc's knife in Spike's gut. Spike was still defiant, but Doc had better moves and managed to toss him off the tower. Meanwhile, Buffy was having fun beating on Glory until Glory reverted into Ben.

Buffy was willing simply to tell Ben that Glory was never to come near any of them again. Ben agreed. Giles knew better and suffocated Ben after Buffy left. Meanwhile, Doc was making shallow cuts into Dawn's torso, which released some blood. Buffy showed up and managed to knock Doc off the tower without a fight.

Unfortunately, she was too late. A drop of Dawn blood fell on the exact point to start opening the barriers. There were many visual effects. A sinkhole appeared in a street. City Hall was filled with demons. A crack appeared at the site, and debris hit Anya just after she pushed Xander to safety.

Dawn realized that she had to sacrifice herself to save the world. Even as a dragon appeared, Buffy tried to stop her. As the sun was rising, Buffy said some last words to Dawn and jumped off the tower into the visual light effect. By the time she hit the ground, she was dead. The final shot of the fifth season was of her gravestone.

The Good

The possibility that Buffy would have to kill Dawn was very compelling.

I liked the dynamics between the characters and the opportunity for characters other than Buffy to shine.

The Bad

There were a few things that did not make sense, especially the idea that Buffy could sacrifice herself instead of Dawn. See Imponderables below.

Overall Rank: 13

Action: 8

Buffy dusted her second vampire in eleven episodes during the teaser.

Buffy, Spike, Xander, Giles, Anya, Willow, and the Buffybot battled Glory, her minions, and the crazies.

Comedy: 1

Buffy had a bit of fun rattling off expressions to the vampire in the alley.

Drama: 7

Buffy refused to face the possibility that Dawn might die, which very much upset Giles.

The characters were all upset at Buffy's death.

Romance: 5

Xander and Anya were doing things in the basement other than look for a dagon sphere.

Xander proposed to Anya and she accepted.

Willow and Tara had a tearful reunion.

Character Development: 3

Ben has, in his mind, justified collaborating with Glory.

Buffy had taken her protectiveness of Dawn beyond all logical limits, even to the point of sacrificing herself.

Tara is no longer brain sucked.

Importance: 9

Xander and Anya are engaged.

Spike is back to being invited into Buffy's house.

Tara is no longer brain sucked.

Glory and Ben are dead

Buffy is dead too.

Most Valuable Player: Anya

Like with most season climax battles, there was a lot of heroism. Willow reversed Tara's brain suck and weakened Glory at the same time. Buffy managed to keep Glory from Dawn and sacrificed herself to seal the opening. Xander came through at a key moment (pun unintended but not unwelcome). Giles finished off Glory by suffocating Ben. Doc nearly saved the day for Glory when she was unable to get to Dawn in time. However, the one character who was essential, who turned defeat into victory, was Anya. She singlehandedly turned the group from gloom and despair to hope and confidence.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Anya

Anya designed most of the plan that was used to defeat Glory for an easy victory. Tara gets credit for figuring out that Giles would kill Ben and Willow gets credit for figuring out how to cure Tara. If it made any sense at all, Buffy would also get credit for figuring out that her death could stop the chaos.

Goat of the Week: Glory

The last couple of season finale battles involved situations in which Buffy was able to muster up a force stronger than the season villain, making the villain's defeat understandable and not due to any blunder. Once again, Buffy came up with a strong force. To paraphrase the cliché chant, the Scoobies united can never be defeated. On the other hand, Glory is not a Frankenstein monster or even a giant snake. She is a god and had forces of her own. She gets the Goat. Buffy gets blame for refusing to sacrifice Dawn, even if necessary. Without this threat, Xander could have easily solved the problem by taking out the tower with the wrecking ball. Also, Spike could have done better against Doc. At very least, Spike could have taken Doc down with him.


I understand why they might want a change of clothes for the Buffybot. However, why would Buffy take the clothes that she was wearing and transfer them to the Buffybot while putting on a new set? I assume that it was to fool the viewing audience. Furthermore, how did the Buffybot learn to speak like a normal human being?

The idea that Buffy's death could stop the ritual made no sense at all. The whole point was that the ritual stopped when the blood flow stopped. Buffy's death did not stop Dawn from bleeding. Natural processes did that for her. The only saving grace is that it is a cop out when a secondary character unexpectedly dies in the place of the title character. It is not a cop out when the title character unexpectedly dies in the place of a secondary character.


Glory was a much better villain than Adam was, but that was not saying much. She was interesting, but more as a caricature than as a three-dimensional person. Buffy pretty much nailed Glory's personality when Buffy described her as being like Cordelia. However, she was more like Cordelia in the first season before she received much character development than like the Cordelia we later got to know.

Glory's main weakness was her tunnel vision and her inability to work with others. Glory seemed to be single mindedly determined to recover the key, even though "Triangle" established the fact that there were other ways to travel between dimensions. It was a very safe bet that the main characters wanted Glory out of this dimension as much as Glory wanted to leave. Some collaboration might have made everyone's lives easier.

Glory leaves the show with two MVPs, zero Sherlock Holmes, and two Goats.

Ben looked like he was destined to be a love interest for Buffy. Fortunately, the show did not go that direction, because he seemed to be too much like Riley. Many fans hate him for eventually collaborating with Glory against Dawn. I do not. Glory made it clear that some of Ben had seeped into Glory, making her act less evilly than she really was. I assume that some of Glory seeped into Ben, making him act more evilly than he really was. Ben leaves the show with zero MVPs, zero Sherlock Holmes, and one Goat.

Memorable Dialogue

"You guys havin' a fight? 'Cause, you know, fighting's not cool." Buffy

"You ever heard the expression, 'biting off more than you can chew?' OK, how about the expression, 'vampire slayer?'" Buffy
"The hell you talkin' about?" Vampire
"Wow, never heard that one. OK, how about 'Oh, God, my leg, my leg?'" Buffy
[Fight starts] "Oh, God, my leg!" Vampire
"See, now we're communicating." Buffy

"You're just a girl." Teen
"That's what I keep saying." Buffy

"Why Dawn's blood. I mean, why couldn't it be a like a lymph ritual?" Xander

"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." Spike

"She's not your sister." Giles
"No, she's not. She's more than that. She's me. The monks made her out of me. I hold her, and I feel closer to her than... It's not just the memories they built. It's physical. Dawn's a part of me. The only part that I..." Buffy

"Smart chicks are so hot." Xander
"You couldn't have figured that out in tenth grade?" Willow

"I wish there was another way." Ben
"And I wish you'd fall on your head and drown in your own barf, so I guess we're both disappointed." Dawn

"It's a higher power trying to tell me through bunnies that we're all gonna die." Anya

"Usually, when there's an apocalypse, I skedaddle, but now I love you so much that, instead, I have inappropriately timed sex and try to think of ways to fight a god and worry terribly that something might happen to you and also worry that something'll happen to me, and then I have guilt that I'm not more worried about everyone else, but I just don't have enough! I'm just on total overload, and I honestly don't think that I could be more nervous than I am right now." Anya
"[Presents engagement ring] Care to wager on that?" Xander

"I know you'll never love me. I know that I am a monster, but you treat me like a man." Spike

"Remember, the ritual starts, we all die, and I'll kill anyone who comes near Dawn." Buffy
"Well, not exactly the St. Crispin's Day speech, was it?" Spike
"We few, we happy few..." Giles
"We band of buggered." Spike

"I don't smell a soul anywhere on you. Why do you even care?" Doc
"I made a promise to a lady." Spike

"She could've killed me." Ben
"No, she couldn't, never, and sooner or later Glory will reemerge 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
"Us?" Ben

"Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will always love you. This is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles that... Tell Giles I figured it out, and I'm OK. Give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest think in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live, for me." Buffy





Characters in Peril


Evil Escaped

Departed Characters Remembered

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on December 1, 2012