"Spiral"
Written by Steven DeKnight; directed by James A. Contner

Picking up where “Tough Love” left off, Glory is still grinning like a fool, happy to finally know that Dawn is the Key. Buffy grabs Dawn and takes off while Willow magically stalls Glory, then sends her flying away from the building. Willow and Tara run off while Glory turns her attention to Buffy and Dawn. She picks up super speed and catches up to them in the street. She apparently isn’t too bright, because she’s hit by a truck she didn’t see coming. Buffy and Dawn run off again as Glory morphs into Ben. The Scoobies convene at Xander’s apartment, where Dawn excitedly tells them what happened. Buffy fears that she won’t be able to fight Glory and Anya suggests dropping a piano on her. Buffy says that they can’t beat Glory and suggests that they run away instead. The Scoobies try to talk her out of it (minus Anya, who is in favor of the plan), but Buffy says that if they stay, they’ll die. She tells them to pack while she takes care of transportation.

Ben returns to Glory’s apartment, where Gronx, yet another minion, asks if he saw the Key. He refuses to give her any information, reminding her that he doesn’t worship Glory. Gronx says that Ben only exists because of Glory, but Ben can only focus on the fact that his life has been taken away from him. He debates finding a combination of drugs that will keep Glory at bay but Gronx tells him it’s impossible. He decides that if he gets the Key first and keeps Glory from using it, he’ll win his life back. On a street in Sunnydale, Willow, Xander, Giles, Tara, and Anya wait for Buffy. She pulls up in an RV driven by Spike and tells the Scoobies on no uncertain terms that he’s coming with them. And so the road trip begins. Two men enter the hospital psych ward and check Orlando (see “Checkpoint” and “Blood Ties”) out. The men, also Knights of Byzantium, take Orlando to their general, Gregor. The Knights learn that Orlando has seen the Key and they set off with their army. Giles drives the RV as the Scoobies try to make conversation. Xander tells Giles that he doesn’t think Buffy was thinking clearly when she brought Spike along, but Giles thinks that Spike could prove his worth if necessary. Tara peeks through the curtains, accidentally burning Spike, then cries that “all the light is gone.” She and the psych patients at the hospital chant, “All dark” and “soon.” In Glory’s apartment, Gronx and another minion, Murk, cast runes and see that “the signs are in alignment.”

In the back of the RV, Dawn thanks Buffy for all she’s done, but Buffy doesn’t think that she’s accomplished much. She laments the fact that bad things keep happening, and Dawn says that at least things can’t get worse. Of course, at that moment, the Knights shoot an arrow into the RV. Buffy glances outside to see the Knights riding horses after the RV. Giles tries to use the RV to get rid of the Knights, but one of them climbs onto the roof and begins stabbing his sword down through the ceiling. Spike grabs the sword before it can hit Buffy and Xander boosts Buffy up through a hatch onto the roof. She fights the Knight, as well as a couple of his friends, as the Scoobies fend other Knights off inside. Everyone calms down as the fight seemingly draws to a close, but suddenly another Knight rides straight towards the RV. His sword goes through the window, stabbing Giles. Buffy jumps off the roof as the RV goes off the road and flips onto its side.

The Scoobies escape from the wreckage virtually unscathed (except for Giles, who is badly injured) and make their way to an abandoned gas station. Willow tends to Giles while Anya asks if Buffy has another plan. Buffy says that they need to keep moving so that the Knights don’t find them. Flaming arrows are shot into the station and the Scoobies see the Knights convening outside. Willow looks for a protection spell as the Knights try to break into the station. Buffy fights them, and Spike tries to help but can’t do much, since the Knights are human. Gregor spots Dawn and Buffy knocks him out. Willow performs a spell which puts a barrier up around the station so that no one can enter or leave. The Knights bring in clerics, who chant to try to bring down the barrier so that they can get Gregor back. Willow tells Buffy that the barrier should last half a day, unless the clerics can get through it.

Buffy ties Gregor to a pillar in the back room and he tells her that “the instrument of chaos must be destroyed.” He repeats Orlando’s words from “Blood Ties” - the Key is the link and must be severed. Buffy protests that Dawn doesn’t remember being the Key and that the Scoobies aren’t the Knights’ enemies. Gregor says that the Key must be destroyed even if it’s in human form. In the other room, Tara begins to panic and starts repeating, “Time!” She tries to get out of the station as the psych patients at the hospital chant as well. Some of them break free of their restraints and leave the ward. Outside the station, Orlando is also chanting, “Time.” Dante, one of the other Knights, stabs him to protect him from Glory.

Buffy tells Giles that she’s sorry for what has happened, but he tells her that he admires her for running. He says that he’s proud of her: “You’re everything a Watcher…everything I could have hoped for.” Buffy tells Willow to open a door in the barrier, then goes outside with Xander. She asks Dante to allow her to bring in someone to tend to Giles’ wounds but he refuses. Xander tells him that there are rules in war and Dante relents. Willow magically activates a pay phone and Buffy calls someone for a favor. Some time later, Ben arrives at the station and is confused to see the Knights outside. Inside, he sees that Dawn is there. He tends to Giles and tells Buffy that he needs to get to a hospital. Spike suggests to Xander that they try running away again - if they stay, they’ll die, but if they try to run, some of them might make it. Buffy says firmly that they’re all going to survive. Gregor mocks that Buffy’s troops don’t seem to be as unified as his own and tells her that she doesn’t know what she’s gotten into. He explains that Glory was part of a triumvirate of gods and was exiled when the amount of power she had began to scare the other gods. She was banished to Earth and punished by being placed inside a mortal male’s body. Buffy notes that if they kill the man, Glory will die as well, but Gregor says that no one knows who the man is. Dawn asks about herself and Gregor replies that no one knows how the Key was created. The monks found it before Glory could and hid it from her. He tells her that she was made to open a portal between dimensions - Glory will use her to return to her own dimension and regain control. However, all dimensions will be opened in the process and “the universe will tumble into chaos…all dark…forever.”

Back in the main room, Dawn tries to come to terms with her newly realized reason for existence. Buffy promises that she won’t let anything happen to her. Gregor gets Ben’s attention and notes that he’s not a part of what’s happening. He warns that if Ben continues to work with the Scoobies, he’ll wind up dead. Gregor tells him that if he can destroy the Key, Glory will fail. Dawn asks Ben if Giles will be all right and blames herself for his state. Ben fills a syringe as they talk and moves closer to her. However, he’s only giving Giles something to help him out. Suddenly, he starts to panic and tells the Scoobies that he needs to get out. Buffy tells Willow to open a door in the barrier again, but before she can, Ben morphs into Glory. Glory notices Gregor, then quickly kills him. Spike and Xander try to attack Glory but she gets the better of them. She pushes Buffy away and grabs Dawn. Anya tries to get her back but Glory runs off with her. Glory breaks through the barrier and takes off. The barrier recloses before Buffy can get through, and by the time Willow gets it down, the Knights are all dead (except for Dante) and Glory and Dawn are long gone. Spike and Xander run off to get Ben’s car while Willow tells Buffy that they have to go after Dawn. Buffy sinks to the ground, crying, and stares in front of her as Willow continues to try to get through to her.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Road trips are exciting, but deadly. Like rock climbing!

GRADE: B I love the Scoobies taking a road trip, and things are starting to wrap up nicely.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Anya: “Piano!”
Xander: “Because that's what we used to kill that big demon that one time! No, wait, that-that was a rocket launcher. An, what are you talking about?”
Anya: “We should drop a piano on her. Well, it always works for that creepy cartoon rabbit when he's running from that nice man with the speech impediment.”
Giles: “Yes, or perhaps we could paint a convincing tunnel on the side of a mountain.”

Xander: “Hey, we gotta be like Sergeant Rock. Cool and collected in the face of overwhelming odds.”
Anya:Overwhelming? How much more than whelming would that be exactly?”
Giles: “Look, everything will be all right, we just need to stay here calmly. As soon as Buffy arrives--” (an RV pulls up) “--we’ll feel oddly worse.”

“Buckle up, kids. Daddy’s puttin’ the hammer down.” - Spike

“I think Anya's gonna try to cook. Wanna come watch the tears and recriminations?” - Dawn

Dawn: “You're not fleeing. You're…moving at a brisk pace.”
Buffy: “Quaintly referred to in some cultures as the big scaredy runaway.”

Dawn: “At least things can't get any crazier. Right?”
Buffy: “You know this is your fault for saying that.”

“Horsies!” - Tara, upon seeing the Knights on horses

Willow: “Don’t hit the horsies!”
Buffy: “Oh, we won’t!” (turns to Giles) “Aim for the horsies.”

“Plus, we do have your general forehead guy.” - Xander to Dante

“(re: cigarettes) You know, those things’ll kill you. Oh. Right. I mention today how much I don’t like you?” - Xander to Spike


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