-- Quotes --
Written by Zinna
You know the drill because we've all seen it countless times before. Helpless boy chased by a wicked vampire in an alley behind the magic shop. Enter the slayer, always around to save the helpless. This time is different, however; this vamp doesn't recognize Buffy and isn't in any way prepared for his defeat, for his death. Neither the vamp nor the helpless boy seems to know that Buffy does things like this everyday. They think she's just a girl, but we all know otherwise.
Returning from a break in the alley, Buffy asks the Scooby Gang if they've come up with anything. The Scoobies are in research mode - searching for ways they can stop Glory. Giles is the first to say that they've found nothing new. Buffy insists he explain the ritual again. Giles is wary, but describes the ritual. The ritual requires that the key's energy be poured into a specific place at a specific time. This will bring down the walls between dimensions, letting loose limitless hell demons to wreak havoc upon the earth. Dawn is the key in human form and the energy is her blood. The walls will remain down until the blood flows no more. Once the ritual starts the only way to stop it is to kill Dawn. Buffy doesn't want to talk about that possibility. Giles, however, insists they must, only he can't say the words. Buffy dares him to tell her to kill her sister. Before he can do it she makes it clear that she will not. Giles points out that Dawn is not really her sister. Buffy counters that Dawn is more than that. The monks made Dawn out of Buffy, out of Buffy's blood. Dawn is a part of Buffy and vice versa. Despite the unbearable torment the world will suffer and her love for the group, Buffy will not do it. If the ritual starts, they will go down fighting, but no one is killing Dawn. Her point made, the gang moves on to discussing ways to stop Glory before the ritual starts.
They discover that they don't have to kill Glory, which seems impossible, but rather they can distract her until the time for ritual has ended. Anya suggests they use the dagonsphere, which is meant to repel Glory. Anya also advises Buffy to use Olaf's hammer, because it is an instrument of a god, to fight Glory. Suddenly, it appears that the gang has a fighting chance.
Elsewhere, Ben gives Dawn a gown that she must wear during the ritual. He tries to be as comforting as he can under the circumstances. Dawn is disgusted by the sight of him and repeatedly demands, at the top of her lungs, that he change back into Glory. Glory appears wondering why Dawn would prefer her to Ben-Ben, being a nice man and all. Dawn says Ben is a monster and while Glory is also a monster, at least she's up front about it. Glory tells Dawn that Ben is just trying to stay alive. Glory goes on to say that Ben's humanity is the only reason she hasn't killed Buffy already. Dawn thinks otherwise and says as much, claiming that Glory couldn't take Buffy in a fight. Instead of defending her position as the more powerful one of the two, Glory looks Dawn in the eye and tells her that Buffy is not her sister, that Buffy won't come to her rescue, and implies that if Buffy does come, Buffy's priority will be to save the world, not Dawn. Glory essentially says that Buffy may come to kill Dawn. Dawn's faith in Buffy does not falter. Dawn calls for Buffy in a desperate whisper as Glory viciously throws her to the floor.
In the magic shop, Buffy is beating the hell out of a punching bag. Giles appears behind her expressing worry that Buffy will tire herself out before the night's big showdown. Buffy ignores his concerns. Giles reiterates that he loves Dawn but he must be the one to say and do things that Buffy should not have to even think about. Buffy reiterates that she will stop him if he tries to hurt Dawn. He knows. It's apparent that Giles is there to provide moral support as opposed to further arguing his case. Buffy understands this and confides in him. In all their previous battles against evil, Buffy was able to see the big picture. She was able to make sacrifices to save the world even when it meant sacrificing her one true love, Angel. Those choices she could understand, she knew she was doing the right thing. In this case, she does not. Buffy admits that she doesn't want to live in a world where she has to choose between her family, her innocent sister, and the world. She wishes her mom was there. Giles has little to offer in the way of comforting words. Buffy finally says that if Dawn dies, she is done with slaying. Though she's said it before, it would appear that this time she really means it.
Xander and Anya are in the basement looking for the dagonsphere. They stop to have sex - Xander's effort to calm Anya down. Anya is calm for a moment, but immediately following she is overwhelmed with fear, guilt, and desperation. Xander is his usual cool and collected self. They continue to search. They come across Spike's Buffybot, among other things, like a cute little pink stuffed bunny. Anya, being deathly afraid of bunnies, takes this bunny to be an omen that they will meet their inevitable doom. She begins to freak out and Xander decides this is the best time to pop the big question. He has a ring and everything. Anya's immediate response is to slap him. She thinks that he is proposing because he knows that he will never have to go through with it since they will all be killed later that night. Xander offers a different explanation. He firmly believes that they will make it through the night and go on to live long happy lives. Xander wants to spend his life with Anya. Anya accepts his proposal but refuses the ring. She says that she will take it "when the world doesn't end."
Buffy asks Willow if she's figured anything else out. Willow has a few ideas, but she is very nervous. Buffy tells her with great sincerity that Willow is the strongest of all of them. Willow is their big gun. She reminds Willow that she is the only one to ever hurt Glory in any way. Willow remains humble and tells Buffy that she has been looking into ways to reverse the damage that Glory did to Tara's mind. Willow feels a little ashamed to have made Tara her first priority. Buffy contends that Tara should be Willow's first priority. Willow further explains that her plan to exchange Tara's sanity from Glory's head back to Tara's head may leave Glory weak and a little less coherent, or it may make all their heads explode.
Anya and Xander tell Buffy about what they found in the basement. A plan is set into place. Everyone has his or her own part to play.
Buffy takes Spike to her house to get weapons and change clothes. At her house, Buffy invites him in and shows him the weapons chest. She tells him that she doesn't think all of them will make it through the night. She says she is counting on Spike to protect Dawn. Spike promises that he will until the end of time. He also says, that though she never loved him, she treated him like man despite his being a monster. He appreciates that.
When they return to the magic shop, the time has arrived for them to face Glory. Before they leave, Buffy gives one last warning that she will kill anyone who tries to hurt Dawn. Tara, still suffering from Glory's mind bending, looks at Giles and calls him a killer. They leave with Tara at the lead. Tara is inexplicably drawn to the ritual, as are all the others made mad by Glory's brain wiggling power. The gang follows behind Tara as she unwittingly guides them to where the ritual will take place.
The ritual is set to take place on top of a tall tower built haphazardly by Glory's worshippers. The gang assumes that the tower reaches to the spot where Dawn’s blood must flow to breach the dimensions. Willow gulps a big breath of air, for she is up first.
Tara walks up to Glory. Glory is perturbed by her presence, but hasn't much time to do anything because instantly Willow comes between them sticking her hands in each of their heads chanting the words that should return Tara's sanity to her own head. The spell ends as Glory flings the two witches away from her. They each are knocked unconscious by the blow. Willow was right, the spell did weaken Glory. She appears to be somewhat disoriented. Glory turns and comes face to face with Buffy. Buffy throws the dagonsphere at her, which causes Glory to weaken a little more, but Glory crushes the sphere despite the apparent pain it is causing her. Glory recognizes this ambush as a diversionary tactic and sends her minions to guard Dawn. The rest of the gang takes this as their cue to rush at the minions with their weapons. Battles ensue.
Dawn, tied to a ledge on top of the tower, notices the commotion below and begins to scream to Buffy that she is up there.
Amidst the battle, Willow awakes and approaches Tara, who is slowly coming back to consciousness as well. She looks at Tara for signs that the spell worked. Tara recognizes Willow and appears to be lucid. They kiss and have a short but touching reunion.
Glory continues to fight Buffy. Glory regains her strength and is able to take off Buffy's head, revealing circuitry. Feeling she has triumphed, she announces that Buffy is a robot. The real Buffy appears behind Glory with Olaf's hammer and knocks Glory off her feet. Heeding Dawn's cries, Buffy attempts to get to her by climbing up the tower, but is stopped by Glory. They fight inside the delicate layers leading to the top of the tower. Glory somehow gains the upper hand and pushes Buffy completely off the tower. Buffy is able to bring Glory down with her, but is without Olaf's hammer.
On the ground, Glory asks Buffy what she will hit her with now that she is without her hammer. Suddenly, a huge wrecking ball comes crashing through the wall and hits Glory. Xander is behind the wheel of the wrecking ball machine and proud of his aim. Buffy is then able to retrieve the hammer from where she dropped it. Glory is only stunned by the wrecking ball's blow, but Buffy is soon upon her, once again whacking Glory senseless with the hammer.
Unfortunately, Glory was not the only one interested in opening the dimensions. Doc, the demon that helped Dawn with the spell to bring her mom back from the dead (Forever), appears in front of Dawn. Apparently, Doc was not killed by the sword Spike put through his heart when they went to obtain information about the ritual (The Weight of the World). He is there to do what Glory has been diverted from. He has a knife and intends to bleed Dawn, therefore starting the ritual.
On the ground, Willow telepathically tells Spike that Dawn isn't alone at the top of the tower. She tells him to go to her. Glory's crazies heavily guard the base of the tower but Willow and Tara join hands and magically part them, giving Spike a path to the top.
Spike faces Doc. They fight for a brief time. Doc stabs Spike and throws him from the top of the tower as Dawn watches in horror.
On the ground, Buffy beats Glory with the hammer to utter and complete exhaustion. Glory is too weak to fight Buffy anymore and turns into Ben. Buffy tells Ben that it's over. Ben concedes, realizing their defeat. Buffy drops the hammer and rushes to Dawn's aid.
Giles walks over and kneels down next to Ben. He tells Ben that Glory will come back and make Buffy pay for her mercy, and yet knowing this, Buffy was still unable to take a human life. Buffy's a hero, you see, she's not like Giles and Ben. Having said as much, Giles suffocates Bens until his body is lifeless.
Before Buffy is able to get to Dawn, Doc cuts her. Dawn's blood flows from her body into the spot causing a small hole to open in the fabric of their reality. Chaos ensues. Buffy reaches the top and Doc stands between her and Dawn, intending to prevent her from ever reaching Dawn. He underestimates Buffy's determination and strength. Barely deterred, Buffy quickly throws Doc from tower with one hand as she rushes to untie Dawn.
She starts to take Dawn down from the tower, but Dawn stops her. Dawn looks at the ledge as if she intends to jump into the portal to stop the hell that is currently exploding onto earth. Buffy refuses to accept this solution. Dawn says she has to, that it needs her blood. Buffy looks at her and grows silent for a moment as memories flash in her mind. Buffy remembers the first slayer telling her that death is her gift, and she remembers what she said about Dawn and her having the same blood. She looks at Dawn and tells her with her eyes that she will jump in Dawn's stead. Dawn pleads with her verbally, saying, "Buffy, NO!" Buffy replies, "Dawnie, I have to." Buffy goes on to give Dawn a quick but inspiring speech, that essentially explains to Dawn that this is the work that she must do. She tells Dawn to relay to Giles that she understands what she is supposed to do and she's okay with it. She sends her love to her friends and tells Dawn to take care of them and to have them take care of each other. Lastly, she tells Dawn to be brave and live for her. Then Buffy dives from the ledge into the shiny widening hole and struggles inside of it until it takes her life and closes. Buffy's limp and lifeless body lays at the foot of the tower for all to see. The episode ends with a shot of her tombstone, which reads: Buffy Anne Summers, 1981-2001, Beloved Sister, Devoted Friend, She saved the world a lot.