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Stew’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer Retrospective: Season 5, Episodes 13

June 7, 2024 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 5-13 Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV


Episode 13

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

Well now that we know what Glory is and isn’t*, let’s see how Buffy gets on the road to defeating her!

*SEE NEXT ARTICLE, Episodes 12 & 14 – Episode 13 here ended up running long so I split it out ahead of episode 12.

Buffy’s 20th birthday is upcoming, but she does not feel like celebrating! She is researching the info the Council left behind on Glory; it turns out she is one of three gods that used to rule a demon dimension and all of whom were trying to find their way to Earth. Well looks like she finally did it! She has to absorb the mental health and stability from human victims in order to survive in Buffy’s dimension, though. She needs The Key to get around this, and Buffy and Giles finally relent and tell the rest of the team they have “The Key” after all.

Elsewhere, the Knights Of Byzantium are praying when they are jumped by Glory’s minions. But you don’t get to be a Knight of whatever for nothing, so they pretty effortlessly fight them off. That is, until Glory herself gets involved! She whips their asses in short order, then takes one of them hostage.

Later on, we will see her torturing the guy she abducted, and he reports–like he told Buffy–that there are basically limitless dudes the order of the Knights can throw at their problems. They’ll send thousands after Glory to see her stopped!** She brushes him off and absorbs his sanity with her Fingerprod Of Doom.

**At no point do I think this show has the budget for a thousand extras, so I bet we get, like, 15 of these jabroneys, maximum.

Outside the magic shop, we see Willow and Tara set up a perimeter alarm spell in case Glory comes back. Dawn heads into the store, whereupon the newly in-the-know Xander and Anya are super weird and reverent around her. Dawn doesn’t think too much of it and just wants to talk about her schoolwork, though she takes the time to tease Buffy that Glory is better looking than Buffy is.

And Dawn ain’t wrong there. Glory is kind of a scene-stealer.

At Buffy’s birthday party, Dawn gives her a framed photo of a time they visited their dad and went to San Diego, which breaks Buffy up a bit, probably because she is amazed the writers remembered Dad exists. Her emotions weird Dawn out since it was such a cheap gift.

Later on, Dawn figures out that everyone at the party is talking about her behind her back, but she has no idea why. She gets upset and sneaks out of the house, bumping into Spike. She tells him she is off to steal stuff from the magic shop (but… why?), and he says he will follow along to keep her safe from threats.

At Giles’ store, Spike lockpicks their way in, a skillset he has definitely not shown before. We actually DO get a “why” as to her reasoning for breaking into the shop to steal things: she saw Giles writing in a book earlier! She wants that book!

The vampire and the brat find the book together and start scrolling through it. Hilariously, it starts off with minor clues that hint to Dawn that she might be the key–stuff that causes her to remember the times people that weren’t of their full cognitive capacity yelling at her–but then at the end just says “Oh yeah, the key will be The Slayer’s sister”, completely burying any need for this dynamic duo to deduce any clues.

Having returned home, Dawn approaches everyone with her friggin’ wrist slit, asking if either she or the blood is even real! Damn, girl. That’s dramatic teenager goth bullshit. “If you prick me, do I not bleed? I mean, I don’t know. Existence is pain, and blood is just, like, the veil, man”.

She asks why mom and Buffy did not tell her she was just a key, and they hem and haw, making Dawn a sad puppy. Sadness leads to anger, though, and she screams at them to leave her alone, then locks herself in her room.

Buffy and the crew head to the magic shop because the plot says they should go there, even though shouldn’t her priority be staying with/near Dawn at this time? Whatever, the team finds cigarette butts in an urn, and Buffy realizes that Spike was with Dawn when she found out the truth.

Buffy busts into Spike’s crypt, furious, and STILL DOESN’T KILL HIM FOR HIS MANY, MANY TRANSGRESSIONS. Though Spike rightfully points out that he only took Dawn to the shop because she was going anyway and he wanted to protect her. With the turns tabled, he scolds Buffy for not being honest with Dawn to begin with.

We cut elsewhere to Nurse Ben in the hospital checking on the Knight of Byzantium guy in the mental ward. Glory’s minion approaches him and warns that the Keystone KoBs are going to be arriving en masse to fight Glory. He starts to threaten Ben, but Ben cuts him off and says that Glory can’t hurt him.

Buffy and mom are sitting in the living room discussing Dawn, and Dawn sneaks over JUST IN TIME to overhear a completely forced and out-of-context part of the speech where Buffy, for some reason pretending to be Dawn and expressing what Buffy thinks she is feeling, say Dawn is nothing to them and they could never love her.


Screenwriters, man. Coincidence is the crutch of cleverness.

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

Dawn starts a fire in her room (this episode is so fucking crazy and non-sequitor… like, WHY does she start a fire?!), then runs away.

Buffy’s solution to everything this episode is to go to the magic shop, so that’s where the episode takes us next. She tasks the Scoobies with splitting up to scour SunnyDale for Dawn. Which could take days because based on what we know, SunnyDale is approximately the size of Massachusetts.

OH! And according spell check, I did not know how to spell Massachusetts until just now. There are TWO T’s at the end, you say? But only one S in the Chusett part? I’ll be damned.

The longer you look at the name “Massachusetts”, the fucking stranger it is. I’m starting to convince myself there is no such thing, and I just made it up.

We get a few quick scenes next: Dawn at the park, where she remembers being a little girl and playing with big sister Buffy. Then Xander and Giles on their hunt, where Xander is impressed that an ancient energy being was incarnated as a girl with a crush on him (Jesus Christ, Joss Whedon, WE GET IT; you want to be a ladies’ man). Then Buffy and Spike working together. Spike reassures her they will find Dawn, but Buffy isn’t sure what comes next even if they do.

Out and about on her runaway adventure, Dawn sees an ambulance and decides to head to the hospital. She sneaks into the mental ward and starts asking the patients what they see when they look at her. She comes across the Knight of Byzantium that Glory sent there, and he freaks out, trying to bust out of his restraints and ranting about needing to destroy her. A distraught Dawn runs away and bumps into Ben.

Ben makes the two of them hot chocolate to chill everything out, even though hot chocolate has caffeine and should do the opposite. Is that smarmy of me? I’m just saying. Dawn starts unloading on Ben, and even though she thinks it won’t mean anything to him, she tells him she is The Key.

Ben LOSES IT at this reveal and starts yelling at her to get the heck away from him before Glory shows up.

(See? It’s the caffeine. It riles you up)

Dawn is taken aback by his reaction, but even more taken aback when NURSE BEN TURNS INTO GLORY WAIT WHAT THE HELL?!

Conveniently, Glory does not remember what Dawn and Ben said to each other, which just makes how she found Buffy’s house last episode even more befuddling. A hospital guard comes up to them to see what is the matter, and she kills him, then drags Dawn off to get more information.

Out in the world, the Scoobies reconvene and no one has found Dawn. Buffy just immediately decides they should go check the hospital, and I will give this a pass because characters don’t EFFORTLESSLYTM accomplish stuff or figure out what they need to do nearly as often as they used to. Admittedly the show has dramatically improved in that regard, at least.

Back at said hospital, Glory and Dawn are sitting around chatting it up. Dawn is, of course, playing dumb about The Key, and she is asking Glory questions about what it looks like so she will know it if she sees it. Glory notes it could be anything.

Dawn asks Glory if the key itself is inherently evil. Glory waffles on her answer there, causing Dawn some internal strife. After that point, Glory decides that Dawn doesn’t have any relevant information and will best serve as a McSanity Meal. She is just about to strike when the team barges in!

A fight breaks out, of course, and Buffy finally actually shows some competency in the face of Glory, though she still ends up on the losing side, more or less. Tara and Willow cast a spell to teleport Glory away. They note that they have no idea where she could have ended up, so we cut to Glory reappearing several miles up in the air and falling.

Back on terra firma, Buffy tells Dawn that she loves her, and they hug. Dawn insists they find and check on Nurse Ben; she remembers talking to him, but NOT that he turned into Glory. So that’s pretty silly.