"The Gift"
Written and directed by Joss Whedon

After a series of previous scenes which cover pretty much every important thing that’s ever happened in the past 99 episodes of Buffy, we see a boy running through alleys and winding up at a dead end. He’s being pursued by a vampire, who is eager to sink his teeth into him. Fortunately, for the kid, he’s wound up in the alley behind the Magic Box, and Buffy is there to protect him. She’s surprised that the vampire hasn’t heard of her and, of course, kills him. The boy is shocked to see her kill the vamp and notes, “But you’re…you’re just a girl.” “That’s what I keep saying,” Buffy replies as she heads back inside. The Scoobies are still researching, but haven’t found any new information on Glory’s ritual (see “The Weight of the World”). Buffy tells Giles to explain it again, and he repeats that Glory is going to literally unleash Hell on Earth.

Xander asks why Glory has to bleed Dawn in order to complete the ritual, and Spike says that it’s because blood equals life. Buffy says that the solution is simple - they just have to stop Glory. Giles tries to get her to realize that they might not be able to save Dawn, but she doesn’t want to hear it. “Tell me to kill my sister,” she says. “She’s not your sister,” he replies. She disagrees - the monks created Dawn out of her, and they have a connection. Giles tells her that if Glory starts the ritual, everyone on Earth will experience torture and death, including Dawn. Buffy says that if that’s the case, Dawn will at least see her trying to help her. Giles tells her that she’ll fail and that they’ll all die, but Buffy can’t resign herself to that. Anya tries to take charge, encouraging everyone to offer suggestions on how to stop Glory. Xander says that Ben is human, and wonders if they can kill him to stop Glory. Willow says that they don’t have to kill Glory, they just have to delay the ritual, since she can only perform it at one specific time. Anya remembers the Dagon sphere (see “No Place Like Home”), which can supposedly be used to repel Glory, and the troll hammer (see “Triangle”), which is heavy enough to cause some damage. Buffy thanks Anya for her suggestions, but the Scoobies still don’t know where Glory is. Tara says that it’s a “big day” and that she has to be there, giving Buffy an idea. Ben gives Dawn some clothes for the ritual and tells her that he wishes this didn’t have to happen. She tells him to change back into Glory because she can’t stand to look at him. She yells for Glory until he morphs into her. Dawn taunts that Glory can’t take Buffy, but Glory points out that Buffy hasn’t come to rescue her yet. She says that, since Buffy isn’t really Dawn’s sister, she doesn’t think she’ll be playing hero.

Buffy does some last-minute training in the training room and Giles tells her that his job is to protect the world, not just Dawn. She tells him that if he tries to hurt Dawn, she’ll stop him. She laments the fact that she no longer knows what’s right and can’t see the point in living in a world that forces her to make life or death choices. She tearfully admits that she wishes her mother were there. She reveals that the First Slayer told her that death is her gift (see “Intervention”), and thinks that it means that “a Slayer really is just a killer after all.” Giles disagrees, but Buffy says it doesn’t matter. If Dawn dies, she quits. Glory announces that it’s ritual time and her minions grab Dawn, who is yelling for Buffy. The minions take Dawn to the warehouse where the psych patients were working (again, see “The Weight of the World”). It turns out that they’ve built a huge tower, and Dawn is heading straight for the top.

Giles calls down to the basement of the Magic Box to see if Anya and Xander have found the Dagon sphere. They claim to be looking for it, but they’re really just getting friendly for possibly the last time. Anya admits to being scared, and though Xander tries to comfort her, he winds up yelling in surprise when he finds the Buffybot (again, see “Intervention”). Anya is the next to be surprised when she finds a stuffed bunny and thinks that it’s “a higher power, trying to tell me through bunnies that we're all gonna die.” She says that, ordinarily, she would skip town (see “Graduation Day, Part 1”), but she’s staying because she’s worried about Xander. He decides to distract her by producing a ring and asking her to marry him. She responds by slapping him and complaining that he’s only proposing because they’re going to die, and he knows he’ll never have to follow through. He assures her that they’re going to live, and she accepts his proposal, but tells him to give her the ring “when the world doesn’t end.”

Buffy tells Willow that she’s an important part of the events to come, but Willow is nervous about being in a position of power. Buffy reminds her that she’s the only one who’s been able to hurt Glory. Willow admits that she’s been looking into helping Tara, and thinks that if she can get close enough to Glory, she might be able to reverse what she did. Buffy decides to head over to her house for weapons and tells Spike to tag along. At the Summers’ house, Spike remembers that he can’t enter because he’s been uninvited (see “Crush”), but Buffy reinvites him. She tells him that they aren’t all going to survive and she depends on him to help protect Dawn. He assures her that he will. As she heads upstairs, he says, “I know you’ll never love me. I know that I'm a monster. But you treat me like a man.” She doesn’t respond.

Dawn is tied up on a platform at the top of the tower and told that Glory will be up soon. Buffy and Spike return to the Magic Box and decide that it’s time to go. Willow tells Tara to go ahead for her big day and Tara heads out. Buffy prepares the others to follow her, telling them that if anyone tries to hurt Dawn, they’re dead. The Scoobies follow Tara through the streets to the tower, which Xander greets with, “Shpadoinkle.” Willow is sent in for her job and she admits that she could use “some courage”; Spike offers her his flask. Tara heads over to help the other psych patients and is spotted by Glory. Willow approaches, grabs both of them, and performs some sort of spell that sends all three of them flying away from each other. Glory is left shaken, which is kind of bad, considering that Buffy has just shown up to face her.

Glory tells the minions that Buffy is distracting her and orders them to go guard Dawn. Buffy reveals that she has the Dagon sphere and throws it to Glory, who doesn’t seem to appreciate the gift. She and Buffy start to fight as the minions head up to the tower, feeling triumphant. Spike shoots one with an arrow and Giles and Anya start to attack. Willow finds Tara, who is now back to normal. In the middle of their fight, Glory knocks off Buffy’s head - she was really the Buffybot. The real Buffy appears and smacks her with the troll hammer, sending her flying. Buffy starts to make her way up to the top of the tower, still fighting Glory. Both of them wind up falling off of the tower, and Xander hits Glory with a wrecking ball before she can fight Buffy again. The god and the Slayer continue battling as Doc (see “Forever” and, again, “The Weight of the World”) appears on the platform in front of Dawn. She begs him to help her, not realizing that he’s not one of the good guys. Hiding from the minions, Spike notes that someone is up on the platform with Dawn. Willow telepathically tells him to get up to her and he takes off. Willow and Tara magically move the minions aside so that he can have a clear path, and when he gets up to the top, he starts to fight Doc. Buffy keeps hitting Glory with the hammer, noting that Glory isn’t doing too well. Doc pushes Spike off of the tower as Glory begs Buffy to stop hitting her. Glory morphs into Ben, who apologizes. Buffy tells him to tell Glory that “she missed her shot” and to never come near the Scoobies again. She leaves and Giles approaches Ben, saying that Buffy never could have killed him. “She’s a hero, you see,” says Giles. “She’s not like us.” He proceeds to suffocate Ben until he’s dead.

Doc begins to cut Dawn with a knife, starting the bleeding part of the ritual. Buffy arrives on the platform and effortlessly pushes Doc off. She unties Dawn, not seeing that her blood has created a spot of light. Dawn sees that the portal is opening - lightning is striking, the ground is shaking, and demons are screaming. Anya saves Xander from falling bricks, but is knocked out herself. Dawn starts to jump off of the platform but Buffy stops her. Dawn says that she has to jump to stop the ritual, but Buffy refuses to let her. Buffy remembers Spike talking about the blood in the ritual, telling Dawn that they have the same blood (see “Blood Ties”), telling Giles that Dawn was made from her, and learning that death is her gift. She tells a protesting Dawn that she knows what she has to do. Buffy runs off the platform and dives into the portal as Dawn watches tearfully. We hear a voice-over of Buffy’s final words to Dawn, telling her that she’s all right and that she needs to be brave and live. The portal closes and everything returns to normal. The Scoobies look at Buffy’s body on the ground, sadly realizing what has happened. In a cemetery, we see Buffy’s headstone: “Buffy Anne Summers. 1981-2001. Beloved sister. Devoted friend. She saved the world. A lot.”

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: This show can still surprise you.

R.I.P.: Doc, Ben, Glory, Buffy

GRADE: A- Everything comes together, and the ending is a great twist.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Buffy: “I like this. Thanks.”
Anya: “Here to help. Wanna live.”
Xander: “Smart chicks are sooooo hot.”
Willow: “You couldn’t have figured that out in tenth grade?”

Ben: “They, uh…said you have to put this on…for the ceremony.”
Dawn: “What if I don't?”
Ben: “Come on, just--.”
Dawn: “What if I don't like the color?”
Ben: “Look, I…I wish there was another way.”
Dawn: “And I wish you'd fall on your head and drown in your own barf, so…I guess we're both disappointed.”

Xander: “Spike's sexbot. Why didn't they just melt it down into scrap?”
Anya: “Maybe Willow wanted it.”
Xander: “I don't think Willow feels that way about, about Buffy. I mean, I know she's gone through a lot of changes, but--.”
Anya: “To study it.”
Xander: “Right. Robotics. Science.”
Anya: “Pervert.”
Xander: “Other pervert.”

“Anya…you wanna marry me?” (she slaps him) “Can I take that as a ‘maybe’?” - Xander

Buffy: “I need you, Will. You're my big gun.”
Willow: “I'm your - no, I-I was never a gun. Someone else should be the gun. I, I could be a, a cudgel. Or, or a pointy stick.”

Xander: “Hey, I happen to be--.”
Spike: “A glorified bricklayer?”
Xander: “I'm also a swell bowler.”
Anya: “Has his own shoes.”
Spike: “The gods themselves do tremble.”

Buffy: “Everybody knows their jobs. Remember, the ritual starts, we all die. And I'll kill anyone who comes near Dawn.”
Spike: “Well, not exactly the St. Crispin's Day speech, was it?”
Giles: “We few, we happy few.”
Spike: “We band of buggered.”

“Shpadoinkle.” - Xander, upon seeing the tower

Minion 1: “This will be our day of glory!”
Minion 2: “Well punned.”
Minion 1: “Well, it just called out to me.”

“Hey, wow, the Slayer's a robot. Did everybody else know the Slayer was a robot?” - Glory

“Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles…tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. And 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 thing in this world…is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.” - Buffy

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