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The Weight of the World (Buffy episode)

"The Weight of the World" is the 21st episode of season 5 of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Plot synopsis


Willow tries to reach the Slayer, who has been rendered catatonic by Dawn's abduction.

Expanded overview

Glory prepares for the ritual to open the portal, talking to her minions and Dawn, who has no choice but to listen as she's tied up and gagged. Spike reports that he can't see Glory anywhere, but the gang has a new problem as Buffy has been reduced to a state of catatonia. Spike tries to violently shake Buffy back to normal, which only leads to a fight with Xander, and Willow forces the two guys apart with magic. She takes control, giving orders to everyone, as Buffy is unable to do so. After mentioning that Ben and Glory share a body, Spike realizes that Glory's magic makes the humans forget that bit of information every time it's revealed to them.

Glory first attempts to comfort a frightened Dawn, but starts to lose her cool as she realizes she's feeling guilty. With Anya looking over Tara, Willow prepares herself for a spell that will allow her into the mind of the Slayer. Things go as planned and Willow finds herself talking to a young Buffy. Willow witnesses Buffy's memory of baby Dawn being brought home by Joyce and Hank.

At the hospital where Giles was getting care, Xander fills him in on Willow's plans. Spike returns after investigating Glory's apartment with little information on her whereabouts. Dawn reveals to Glory that she remembers the transformation from Ben; this really worries Glory as she realizes Ben is closer to the surface than before. She asks to have Ben taken out of her body, but it is the punishment she must face for her crime. In Buffy's mind, Willow watches Buffy shelve a book at the magic shop, followed by Buffy's memory of the First Slayer telling her that "death is [her] gift."

Glory brags to Dawn about her superiority but Dawn knows there is one person who can beat the god: Buffy. Meanwhile, in Buffy's mind, Willow visits a 20-year-old Buffy at her house. Buffy calmly acknowledges that death is her gift, before going to Dawn's room and smothering the young girl with a pillow. Glory finds her body taken over by Ben and after some encouragement from Dawn, Ben takes her and runs. Willow watches as scenes from earlier begin to repeat and baby Dawn is brought home again.

Spike and Xander visit Doc for information on Glory but, noticing his shifty attempts to hide a small carved box, quickly find that he's playing for the other team. With his super speed and long tongue, Doc has the guys at a disadvantage. He throws the box into the fireplace and attacks. Spike is able to recover the box while Xander stabs the reptilian creature with a sword. The two leave with the box, but after they've gone, Doc's eyes open. In Buffy's mind, before Buffy can go to kill Dawn again, Willow stops her and asks her why.

A good distance away from Glory's hideout, Dawn breaks away from Ben and hits him with a chain. As she makes her escape though, she's again in the grasp of Glory. Ben and Glory battle for control of the body until Glory manages to convince Ben that he must cooperate with her. As he regains control, he hands Dawn over to Glory's minions. Buffy reveals to Willow that she gave up in her heart and that she thinks she is the reason Glory has Dawn and Dawn will soon die. Willow tells her that it's not over yet and she can still do something to stop it.

Buffy finally comes out of her state, crying and collapsing into Willow's arms. As they return to the magic shop, Xander tells Buffy that Ben and Glory are one and the same. After reviewing the information Spike stole from Doc, Giles reveals that a bloodletting ceremony will occur to open the portal, and once it begins there is only one way to stop it: Dawn must be killed.



Special guest star

Guest starring


Production details


  • Italian title: "Il peso del mondo" ("The Weight of the World")
  • German title: "Die Last der Welt" ("The weight of the world")
  • French title: "Sans espoir" ("Hopeless")
  • Spanish title: "El peso del mundo" ("The weight of the world")

Quotes and trivia

  • The sword that Doc, Spike, and Xander struggle over is the Kit Rae designed Sword of Darkness from his Swords of the Ancients collection.


Arc significance

  • Buffy finally decides to confront Glory and save Dawn, leading to the events of season finale "The Gift". The episode also showcases for the first time the impact certain events have had on Buffy's life and her perspective.
  • It is revealed that the barrier between Ben and Glory is breaking down, allowing the Scoobies to retain the knowledge that the two share a body.
  • This is the first time we see Buffy's "death wish". The speech Buffy tells Willow in her dream about realizing that Glory will win is highly reminiscent of the one Spike tells Buffy about all slayers having a death wish.


  • Stories that take place around the same time in the Buffyverse:

External links

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