Previously: Glory brain sucked Tara and our hearts broke right along with Willow’s.
Lorraine: The episode starts immediately after the end of the last, with Glory busting into Tara’s dorm room from the outside and discovering that Dawn is the key. Buffy takes off running with Dawn, and apparently doesn’t have time to open the door, so she barrels through it. Of course, now she’s on the floor and has to scramble to her feet. I’d call that a plan fail.
Sweeney: Not that she really had ample time for quality plan-making.
Kirsti: True. But my first thought would always be to open a door rather than try to jump through it…
Lor: Perhaps that is another reason we are not the chosen ones.
Glory starts after them, but Willow is able to first hold her back with her wall of invisible goo, and then send her flying backwards. Willow grabs Tara and runs.
Buffy and Dawn are running through Contrivance U, but apparently Glory has super speed. I wish they hadn’t done that. The more powerful they make her, the more annoyed I am about all the contrivance-y ways they’ve keep her inactive and ineffectual.
Dawn can’t keep on running and Buffy has to pick her up and run with her in her arms. The stunt double and dummy in the scene do hilarious work. I recommend taking a few moments and paying close attention. Glory catches up with them, and instead of grabbing her key and running quickly away, she stands around for a few seconds and puns and asks Buffy for last words. Buffy chooses, “truck,” because OF COURSE, there is a big gasoline truck headed straight for Glory.
Wrong thing! Whoops!
Sweeney: Necessary joke is necessary.
K: Agreed. The day we don’t make a Mean Girls joke is the day you know we’ve finally all gone insane.
Lor: I try to always do what is expected of me.
Glory is thrown on top of a car, unscathed, but now it’s Ben’s turn to take over the body. He’s shocked by what he came back into. Roll credits.
At Xander’s Gift Suite, Dawn is excitedly telling the Scoobies about their confrontation with Glory, right up until the part where she got thrown “in orbit.” Everyone is super impressed that Buffy managed to best Glory but B deadpans that a truck hit her. Anya asks, “did you throw it at her?” Bless her heart. Giles tries to look on the bright side, but Buffy accurately points out that they’ve only barely escaped whenever they’ve come against Glory, and now she knows Dawn is the key.
Anya makes few dumb suggestions about how to get rid of Glory. Giles wants to keep looking for ways to defeat her, but Buffy’s over that. She wants to run. Giles thinks this is a super drastic thing to do. This is all hilarious to me, because a few of you have been pointing out how extra contrivance-y it is that Buffy never ran away from Glory. My initial reaction was that staying in Sunnydale was just some of the built in story line stuff we have to accept when watching this show. It didn’t bother me that they didn’t run, because then where would the drama be? The fact that they are running now, though, makes that problematic. BECAUSE YOU SHOULD’VE RUN AGES AGO.
Anyways, Buffy tells everyone to gather their stuff, and that she’ll take care of finding them a way out.
We find Ben at Glory’s place, handing her one-size-fits-both dress to one of her Flattery Demons who is upset that she probably won’t be able to fix the dress. Flattery Demon questions Ben about whether or not he happened to see a human key hanging around when he came back into the body. Ben wouldn’t share, even if he had seen the key. The two keep bantering back and forth, and reveal that Ben only exists because of whatever failure brought Glory into this dimension. If Glory gets her hands on the key, Ben will cease to exist. He thinks he can prevent this by getting to the key first. Flattery Demon asks Ben if he’s capable of ending a human life. He non-answers that no matter how he came about this life, he plans on keeping it. It echoes Spike’s sentiment that how you start is not the thing.
The Scoobies wait with their things by the side of the road. Giles tries to keep them all calm, saying they all just need to wait for Buffy. Next thing we see, an RV rolls up, with aluminum foil blocking out the front windows. Giles suddenly feels worse about his life.
Sweeney: It definitely looks like the sort of thing you’d see in a horror movie where the audience is all, “DON’T GO IN THERE, YOU’LL GET MURDERED!” and the characters are just like, “Gee, that sure looks safe!”
K: SO MUCH. I pretty much think campervans are dodgy looking at the best of times. But with tin foil all over the windows? HUGE BUCKETS OF NOPE.
Lor: The gang all pile inside and Giles spots Spike in the driver’s seat. He tells Spike to get out, but Buffy says he’s there because he’s the only other person who stands a chance against Glory if it comes down to protecting Dawn. That’s sorely over-looking Willow, but perhaps she has her own person to protect.
Xander pleads, “Buffy come on!” and she explodes that it isn’t a discussion, because he’s staying. She storms off as much you can storm off in an RV, and Spike smiles smugly.
K: I’m pretty sure James Marsters needs to be in some kind of steampunk TV show wearing those goggles.
Lor: At the hospital, some sketchy men sign something at a nurse’s station, and then say sketchy things like, “see how easy that was?” We cut to them walking around a foggy, wooded area. It’s here that I fully notice that they have the Knight of Byzantium whose brain Glory sucked with them.
The Knights are greeted by some Knight in Charge who has a velvety cape, for extra importance. He welcomes Orlando, or Crazy Knight, back and says his sacrifice will not go unnoticed. Crazy Knight starts babbling about shiny things, and how the key is a shiny little girl. Since they know the key is human, and Buffy is protecting the key, they deduce in about three seconds what it took Glory a bazillion years to figure out. Knight in Charge orders his troops to advance, and we see that it’s quite a number of soldiers.
In the Let the Good Times Roll RV, Anya asks if someone shouldn’t be asking, “are we there yet?” Dawn semi-jokes back that that only works if they know where they are going.
Lor: Xander is making gross, wet, gaggy noises and Anya says he doesn’t travel well, like fine shrimp. ANYA AND SHRIMP! Almost as fun as Spike and the Onion Blossom.
Sweeney: Yay drinking game! We’ve been sorely missing that in Sunnydale! Thanks Anya!
Lor: Spike turns to Dawn and says that he should’ve picked the Porsche he was eyeing, even though there was only room for him, Dawn and Buffy. Xander glares at him, as much as you can glare at someone before you puke. Xander tells him to give it a rest and threatens him in between gags.
Xander gets up and goes into the front of the RV with Giles. He complains about how much Spike annoys him, though Giles admits that Buffy had a point about Spike perhaps being useful. Xander doesn’t think Buffy is thinking clearly, but Giles says she’ll be just fine.
Sweeney: He’s a bit unconvincing with that “just fine,” though more due to all the recent life-destroying trauma than any questions about her judgement on involving Spike.
Lor: And I think it’s all meant to give the audience a hint, hint, nudge that Buffy will probably be not just fine.
Willow is searching a book for a barrier spell that will work while they are moving, but isn’t having any luck. Tara starts to crazy a little bit, and Dawn nervously asks if anyone is hungry. Anya is all over that, as she pulls out a pan and some Spam from her backpack. Seriously, bless her heart.
Tara reaches out and pulls the blinds, giving Spike a handful of sun. He jumps up with an exclamation, while Willow grabs Tara’s hand away from the window. Tara starts crying, and Willow apologizes to Spike. He wins another little piece of my heart when he offers that it’s, “no biggie. Look the skin’s already stopped smoking.”
K: Just gonna stop for a second and point out that SPIKE HAS NO SOUL AND STILL DOES THIS STUFF. Let’s just compare that to the other soulless vampires that we see repeatedly: Darla, Drusilla, Angelus, The Master, etc.
Lor: Meh. Sweeney and I have spoken about this a little bit, and she’s much better at expressing this: soulless Spike from S2 is not the same as now-Spike. He was very much on par with Darla, Drusilla and Angelus for a long, long time. I think what makes Spike so much fun to watch, and why these moments are especially worth pointing out, is that he’s changing right before our very eyes. He once was those vampires, or very much like them, but look at him now, etc.
Tara cries that all the light is gone and it’s all dark. We cut to the psych ward in the hospital where all the patients are saying the same thing. It’s all dark.
At Glory’s apartment, two Flattery Demons are consulting some magical something or other, which tell them that everything is in alignment for their soon coming victory.
Let the Good Times Roll RV. Dawn comes back into the room where Buffy’s hiding. She tries to make a joke about Anya’s cooking, but Buffy isn’t in the joking mood. Dawn almost leaves, but turns back to say thank you to her sister for everything she’s done. Good Dawn moments! GOOD DAWN MOMENTS! We have to appreciate them when they happen.
Sweeney: I’ll just be over here, waving my Dawn banner.
K: Forget the banner, let’s have a little parade!
Lor: The Feels Flutes start up as Buffy is hard on herself for running away, when she’s the Slayer and bad guys are supposed to run from her. Dawn declares this running away the best thing anyone has ever done for her. Buffy says it just keeps coming: Glory, Riley, Tara… Joyce. It really has been a crazy, feels filled journey that isn’t even over yet. Dawn says the bright side is that it can’t get any crazier.
An arrow pierces the RV siding near Buffy, so we’re clear that it can and just did get crazier. She looks out the window to see a number of Knights on horseback gaining on the RV. She takes a big deep breath before going out to warn Giles, who has already spotted them. More arrows start coming into the RV as Tara looks out the window and squeals, “horsies!” Giles yells for weapons, and Buffy keeps up the weapon tossing theme with Spike, and tosses him a bag full of them. Spike tells Giles he driving a big ass weapon, and Willow tells him not to hit the horsies. “We won’t!” Buffy replies. “Aim for the horsies,” she says, just to Giles. Survival, yo.
Giles whips the RV around, but a Knight still manages to climb on top of the RV. He pokes the roof with his sword, and almost gets Buffy.
K: On the other hand, I totally hate this sequence because it’s quite possibly the most obvious stunt work of the entire show. Sigh.
Lor: Oh, girl. All of the stunt work is the most obvious stunt work of the entire show. When I spot them, it makes me happy instead of sad.
Inside, Dawn is helping Spike bandage up his bleeding hands. She tells him to keep pressure on it, and he replies, “I always do, sweet bit.” A Knight on horseback breaks through one of the RV windows, and starts grabbing for Dawn. Anya thinks on her feet and uses her pan to smack him repeatedly, Cordy/Spatula style.
After that, all seems calm and well. Giles looks back to make sure everyone is alright, but when he looks forward again, there is a Knight riding toward them. The Knight throws a spear that comes through the driver’s window and pierces Giles’s side. Giles loses control of the RV. Buffy goes flying and the RV rolls onto its side.
After a cut to black, we join the gang looking for shelter, especially because Spike is sizzling in the sun. (K: This drove me nuts for ALL THE REASONS.) They find an abandoned gas station. Xander and Buffy carry Giles in and then Buffy checks to make sure Dawn is okay. She says she is, but mentions that Spike is hurt, because she’s a great bro. Buffy roughly assesses Spike’s hand wounds and determines that they will heal.
Anya asks what they plan is, and Buffy says they can rest for a bit, but they need to move on because they’ll be too easy to locate so close to the wreck. Buffy is super flustered and it doesn’t get better when Willow cries out to Buffy. She’s managed to slow Giles’s bleeding, but it appears he’s going into shock. Buffy asks for a minute to think, but she doesn’t get one, because a flaming arrow sails into the building. Buffy hides Dawn. The Knights are surrounding them and Buffy again calls for Willow’s help AND IT’S SUCH NICE PROGRESSION AND LOOK AT WILLOW HELP.
Spike and Buffy push an old machine of some sort to the door, even though they are surrounded by shabbily boarded up windows. A Knight manages to get inside. Spike comes to her aid and punches the Knight, but is hit by a chip headache. The Knight in Charge comes in with all his velvety cape-ness, and Buffy takes him out fairly quickly. Willow, eyes all blacked out, sets up an energy barrier. I take back my happiness over Willow helping. Someone give her the whites of her eyes back, plz. Thx.
Sweeney: Black Eyed Willow is definitely majorly creepy, but also: she’s not so much helping as single-handedly saving them, so. There’s that.
K: Yeah. It may be creepy, but I’m still gonna give Will a pass on this one.
Lor: I’ll only clarify that this wasn’t particularly creepy, I’m just super afraid for what will happen to Willow in the future. It’s clear to me that all of this expert magic is building to something and so it makes me hesitant to watch, even when yes, she is saving them.
The Knights try to advance on the gas station again, but they are stopped by Willow’s invisible goo. They call for their clerics, who come and identify the goo as a most powerful energy barrier, though they are confident they can get it down.
Spike asks what the story with the Knights is, and Buffy intends to find out. We cut to Knight in Charge tied up to a post. Spike is in the room, and Dawn stands by the door, watching. Buffy asks if he’s the knight in charge of getting captured and he replies that he isn’t afraid, and that also the key must be destroyed. Buffy starts to get angry, but in a sad, whiny kind of way because Dawn doesn’t remember anything about being a key and now she’s just a human. Buffy says they aren’t the Knight’s enemy, but Knight in Charge doesn’t see it that way. The Key is too dangerous to exist. Buffy is angrily telling him off, but they are interrupted by Tara’s screams from the next room.
Tara is running around, trying to look outside, screaming, “time!” We again cut to the psych ward, where the patients are all saying, “time” over and over and breaking out of the restraints on their bed. The Crazy Knight is muttering the “time” thing too, but his Knight Bro says that the beast may have taken his mind, but will never know the taste of his heart. Knight Bro kills him and then yells that he wants the invisible goo gone ASAP.
Inside, Buffy is holding Giles’s hand and apologizes to him saying that they should’ve stayed put in Sunnydale. This angle is NOT being nice to Anthony Stewart Head. But, also, I guess stomach wound or whatever. Buffy says they should’ve never run away, but Giles says that this is what he’s always admired about her– her ability to place her heart above all else. Giles goes for our mangled, pieced together, the glue is still wet hearts as he struggles to say, “I’m so proud of you. You’ve come so far. You’re everything a Watcher… everything I could have hoped for.”
Sweeney: FEELS FOR DAYS AND DAYS. It’s fitting that Giles would make a point of reminding her that she puts her heart above all else after she just went on her little spirit quest because she was afraid of losing her humanity. I just love that even I’m-in-so-much-agony-I-think-I-might-be-dying Giles still knows exactly the right thing to say. Too many feels.
K: The word you were looking for there, Giles, was FATHER. *sniffle*
Lor: Giles passes out and Buffy gets an idea. She tells Willow to open a door in her invisible goo. Buffy heads outside with Xander and speaks to Knight Bro. She says that one of her friends was hurt and they want someone to come help. The Knight Bro doesn’t think so, but Xander says that there are rules in war, especially since they consider themselves so honorable. Plus, they’ve got a hostage.
We don’t see the resolution, but we cut to Willow magic-ing a pay phone to life. Spike jokes about Willow being better than a Swiss knife, and asks if she’ll maybe handle his squeaky TARDIS door. She just walks away.
We cut to BEN! MOTHERFUCKING BEN! rolling up to the abandoned gas station and being met by all of the Knights. Inside, Ben stitches Giles up and flirts with Buffy all at the same time. Spike rolls his eyes in the background.
Sweeney: Appropriate reactions from both you and Spike.
K: SO MUCH.
Lor: After a Not Commercial Break, Ben is still bedside flirting. Giles is stabilized but in rough shape.
Xander goes into the back room, and Spike is there struggling with a lighter for his cigarette. Xander helps him out.
Knight in Charge, who is still tied to the post in this room, laughs at the dissension in her ranks. Buffy punches him in the face so I hoped he enjoyed his laugh. Then, it’s time for exposition story time! Gather around the Snark Squad magic carpet:
Once upon a time, Glory was ruling in her demon dimension with two other hellgods, and they were way into nasty stuff like anguish and despair. Glory was an overachieving hellgod, though, and she wanted more anguish, more despair, and more power. Her co-ruling hellgods were all, “this bitch is crazy!” and were afraid she wanted to take the dimension for herself, no sharesies. To prevent this, they waged a war against Glory and won. They decided it’d be a great idea to cast her into this other dimension into a baby human body, and she would just die eventually. No guarantees… just eventually. Glory has been harnessing her power to force herself out of her human prison, but then she gets tired and has to go away again. THE END.
Sweeney: That’s the weirdest fucking solution to their problem ever. The biggest problem with Glory, as a villain, is how half-assed some of her back story is. There are all sorts of little moments where it seems like they could have been a little more specific, at least with themselves if not with the audience. It still, even at episode 20, feels like pure contrivance in which they fuck with the rules as needed for plot.
K: Seriously. Plus, that’s the laziest plan EVER for getting rid of someone, other hell gods. Especially when you’re all about the anguish and the despair. Surely you could be more creative than that?!
Lor: Way to phone it in, hellgods.
Dawn shows up to ask what the key is all about, and in a long winded way, Knight in Charge explains that she opens the doors between dimensions, but that it would cause chaos and forever darkness if it happened.
Later, Dawn is moping in the dark, as you would if you found out you were the destroyer of the universe. Buffy hugs her sister and promises not to let anything happen to her.
Back in the room where the Knight in Charge is tied up, Willow and Anya are trying to get Tara to eat. Ben stands around nearby, and the Knight in Charge tells him that legions of people will die thanks to Buffy and her friends. Ben can stop that, however, by ending Dawn’s life. Glory will fade and the madness will end.
Dawn watches over Giles who is struggling to breathe. Ben comes over and Dawn asks if Giles is okay. He says he was hurt pretty bad. She blames herself of the injuries, but Ben says she shouldn’t. He walks behind her and prepares a syringe full of something, as he says that sometimes terrible things happen to good people. It’s all a fakeout, because the shot is meant for Giles. Ben administers it, but then he spazzes a little bit.
We next see him running towards the door and begging to be let out. They all try to figure out what’s going on, but it doesn’t take long, because Glory takes control of the body. There is general shock, but Glory springs right into action, killing Knight in Charge, taking out Buffy and Spike, and grabbing Dawn and running. Glory comes up against the wall of invisible goo, but she manages to punch through. Buffy has no such luck and runs back inside, calling for Willow. She already has her black eyes on, and is saying the reversal spell.
By the time Buffy gets back outside, all of the Knights have been slaughtered and Glory is gone. The rest of the Scoobies run out and see the damage. Spike says they should go for Ben’s car and Spike and Xander run that way. Willow says they have to find Glory, but Buffy just sinks to the ground in resignation. Willow begs her to get up, but she doesn’t move.
I’ve mentioned that I write the recaps as I watch the episodes. I usually watch for a few lines, pause, write and return. This recap took an extra long amount of time because I didn’t want to pause, especially at the beginning. The pacing was fantastic, all about until the capture of the Knight in Charge and all the story that came after. I mean, it was useful story, I suppose. Plot progression story. But it slammed the brakes on an other wise action driven episode.
Sweeney: I think part of the problem is that the end of the episode was supposed to be tension filled because of Ben’s presence. The thing is, they keep having Ben give Dawn these ominous looks like, “Maybe he’ll kill her!” and while that scene with the Flattery Demons was enough to suggest that he has motive, it wasn’t enough to convince me he’d do it. In that way, the suspenseful part of his presence was entirely rooted in his inevitable turning into Glory. However, they spent the whole time trying to make us focus on this lesser concern. It was like a magician trying to make you look at his left hand, but we already fucking knew he was doing the trick with his right. Just my two cents on why the pacing fell apart with Ben’s arrival.
Lor: Great points, especially because I originally made a comment in here about how one of the Not Commercial Breaks was awkward, mostly because Ben was staring at Dawn, the music went DUN DUN DUN! and we were out. Not so, “dun, dun dun.”
That said, I loved all the moments in the RV, against my snarky judgement. I mentioned earlier how the running away thing raises issues, and I get that Buffy isn’t at her sharpest, but surely someone could’ve been all, “hey, B! Maybe we can take two, fast cars. Maybe that’s a better escape plan…”
The Knights are pretty stupid. I don’t know if we’ll see more of them, but they are stupid so far.
While the set-up is a little groan worthy, we get a lot of development in this episode, both for individual characters and the over arching plot. It’s hard for me not to appreciate that as a first time watcher.
K: Team Heartless Cow will be on her ottoman, because I really can’t stand this episode. It’s contrivance-y and features super shoddy stunt work and, as Sweeney said, the Ben thing was a total fail. There are moments of it that I love, but overall, it’s a fail for me.
Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ben and Glory fight over Dawn in S05 E21 – The Weight of the World.