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The fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer originally aired from September 26, 2000 to May 22, 2001, concurrently with the second season of Angel. It was the final season of the show to be broadcast on The WB television network.

Synopsis

After an unsettling encounter with the Dracula, Buffy asks Giles to once again be her Watcher. Luckily he agrees, for Buffy is about to face mortal problems far more threatening than the undead: the sudden appearance of a sister named Dawn, her mother's mysterious illness and Spike's undying devotion. Then an undefeatable demon appears, forcing Buffy to turn to an ancient Spirit Guide who tells her that love is her greatest gift — and power.[1]

Summary

Dawn appears in Sunnydale as Buffy's younger sister,[2] with no one finding her presence alarming or noticeable.[3] As a new enemy rises in the form of Glory, a woman capable of physically besting Buffy and seemingly unbeatable, it's discovered she is seeking a mysterious Key, tied to the Order of Dagon.[4] Glory's ultimate plan is to use the Key to return to her home dimension, as a fully powered hell goddess, free from her mortal prison of Ben, the hospital intern with whom she is secretly forced to share a body.[5]

While she works to find the elusive Key, her need to feed on energies causes her to form an army of mentally ill Sunnydale residents.[6] Buffy's life starts to slowly break down as the struggles of a sister, college, Slayerhood, and her increasingly ailing mother put pressure on her. Believing her suspicious sister to be responsible for her mother's illness, Buffy eventually discovers the Order of Dagon used her essence to give the Key a human form: Dawn, who is innocent and Buffy must protect.[4] Buffy and her friends struggle to discover Glory's plan while protecting Dawn, who struggles to accept the truth about her life,[7] while Spike finds himself falling in love with Buffy.[8] Alienated from Buffy's struggles, Riley is called back to the military and leaves her.[9]

After a devastating emotional blow to Buffy's life after her mother passes away,[10]Tara loses her sanity to Glory, earning Willow's ire and causing her to use dark magic to attempt to beat her. Despite the Scooby Gang's best efforts, Glory eventually discovers the Key's new form[11] and kidnaps Dawn[5] for a ritual that would bring down the walls separating different dimensions, flooding the earth dimension with demons and other hell beasts.[12]

An all-out final battle occurs, in which the combined efforts of Buffy, Willow, and Giles defeat Glory, but the portals have already begun to open. Buffy finally realizes that, as she shares the same essence with Dawn, her blood can stop the end of the world. She throws herself into the vortex and sacrifices her life in place of her sister's. She leaves Dawn with her last words, encouraging her to keep living despite the hardships of the world.[13]

Cast

Main cast

Recurring cast

Episodes

No. Image Title Air date
01
Buffy vs. Dracula 04.jpg
"Buffy vs. Dracula" September 26, 2000
Writer: Marti Noxon Director: David Solomon
Still searching for a normal life, Buffy is shaken by the awesome power — and more than a little star-struck — when she and her friends come face to face with the greatest vampire of all time, Dracula. While Buffy is powerless under Dracula's thrall, Xander becomes the dark one's emissary and leads his friends into peril. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Buffy, Giles is seriously contemplating returning to England as he feels she no longer needs his help.
02
S5stills025.jpg
"Real Me" October 3, 2000
Writer: David Fury Director: David Grossman
While Buffy and Giles heat up the training, Buffy and Dawn's sibling rivalry gets them into trouble when a new gang of vampires target the slayer.
03
Anya replacement1.jpg
"The Replacement" October 10, 2000
Writer: Jane Espenson Director: James A. Contner
When a crafty demon out Buffy hunting accidentally catches Xander in his sights, a mysterious Xander double is born. Two Xanders aren't better than one as the evil double quickly takes over Xander's identity, fooling everyone including Buffy, and starts living Xander's life with a flourish.
04
Buffy and spike out of my mind still.jpg
"Out of My Mind" October 17, 2000
Writer: Rebecca Rand Kirshner Director: David Grossman
Buffy is in a race against time when the physical aftereffects of Riley's being used as a lab rat by The Initiative threatens his very life. When Riley stubbornly refuses help and goes into hiding, Buffy reluctantly turns to Spike for help, but he takes advantage of her situation for his own plot to rid his life of the slayer once and for all.
05
B5x05 Glory Buffy.jpg
"No Place Like Home" November 3, 2002
Writer: Douglas Petrie Director: David Solomon
An unseen evil comes to Sunnydale that that helps Buffy discover more about her little sister Dawn and the girls are distressed and confused when their mom suddenly becomes ill without any clear explanation, medical or supernatural.
06
506 Family.jpg
"Family" November 7, 2000
Writer: Joss Whedon Director: Joss Whedon
Willow feels betrayed when Tara's family makes a surprise visit to Sunnydale for her birthday threatening to reveal a shocking secret that could endanger all of their lives. Meanwhile, Buffy and Giles secretly try to learn more about the new evil that is hunting her and her family.
07
B5x07 Dru Spike 02.jpg
"Fool for Love" November 14, 2000
Writer: Douglas Petrie Director: Nick Marck
In an effort to learn about slayers' final battles, Buffy forces Spike to recount how he was able to kill two slayers. His flashbacks reveal his first meeting with his one true love, Drusilla, and how lovers Angel and Darla joined them.
08
Shadow Spawn of Sobek 02.jpg
"Shadow" November 21, 2000
Writer: David Fury Director: Daniel Attias
In order to protect her sister Dawn, Buffy must face a horrible beast that has been conjured by the powerful demon Glory to help seek out "The Key."
09
Listening to Fear Tara Anya Giles.jpg
"Listening to Fear" November 28, 2000
Writer: Rebecca Rand Kirshner Director: David Solomon
As Buffy and Dawn help their mother prepare for brain surgery, a creepy extra-terrestrial demon becomes fixated on an increasingly disoriented Joyce and infiltrates the Summers' home.
10
RiBuff IntoTheWoods3.jpg
"Into the Woods" December 19, 2000
Writer: Marti Noxon Director: Marti Noxon
Spike disrupts Buffy's one moment of peace after her mom's successful operation to expose Riley's late nights spent in the arms of a vampire, sending an upset and bewildered Buffy into a tailspin and putting their relationship in turmoil.
11
Triangle Buffy Olaf.jpg
"Triangle" January 9, 2001
Writer: Jane Espenson Director: Christopher Hibler
While Buffy recovers from losing Riley, emotions are charged between Willow and Anya when they are left in charge of the magic shop and Willow accidentally conjures an enormous troll that will force them to deal with their less than perfect friendship and their feelings towards Xander.
12
Checkpoint Glory.jpg
"Checkpoint" January 23, 2001
Writers: Douglas Petrie, Jane Espenson Director: Nick Marck
The Watcher's Council arrives in Sunnydale demanding Buffy pass an exhaustive review of her slaying skills or they will withhold critical information about Glory and have Giles deported back to England.
13
B5x13 Buffy 01.jpg
"Blood Ties" February 6, 2001
Writer: Steven S. DeKnight Director: Michael Gershman
As Buffy and friends celebrate her 20th birthday, Dawn is traumatized to learn she is the Key and runs away but Buffy and the Scooby gang must find her before Glory does.
14
Crush Spike Drusilla 01.jpg
"Crush" February 13, 2001
Writer: David Fury Director: Daniel Attias
Buffy confronts Spike about his suspected crush and is appalled by his admission of love, but her brutal rejection sends him back into the clutches of Drusilla who has returned to Sunnydale intent on returning Spike to his killer ways.
15
515 MadeToLove1.jpg
"I Was Made to Love You" February 20, 2001
Writer: Jane Espenson Director: James A. Contner
Buffy must stop a heartbroken young woman who was manufactured to be the perfect girlfriend from destroying the city and then finds herself comforting the creation over the loss of love in both of their lives.
16
5x16 The Body.jpg
"The Body" February 27, 2001
Writer: Joss Whedon Director: Joss Whedon
Buffy and her friends are overwhelmed with grief and their lives are changed forever when they must deal with the loss of someone close to all of them.
17
Forever Buffy Dawn.jpg
"Forever" April 17, 2001
Writer: Marti Noxon Director: Marti Noxon
A grieving and confused Buffy falls into the loving arms of Angel who comes back to Sunnydale after he gets word about the death of her mother. Meanwhile, a distraught Dawn takes it upon herself to perform a magic spell to bring her mom back to life.
18
Spike and buffybot intervention still.jpg
"Intervention" April 24, 2001
Writer: Jane Espenson Director: Michael Gershman
Buffy travels to a sacred location on a solemn quest guided by the first slayer with the hopes of uncovering why she has become emotionally paralyzed and to help regain her focus towards slaying. Back in Sunnydale, unable to have the real thing, Spike builds a Buffy robot, who is a picture-perfect replica and so devoted to the rogue that it leaves the Scooby gang reeling and Glory's minions convinced he is the Key.
19
519 ToughLove3.jpg
"Tough Love" May 1, 2001
Writer: Rebecca Rand Kirshner Director: David Grossman
Buffy must step up as the authority figure for Dawn now that their mom is gone, all the while fearful that Glory is closer to discovering the Key when a member of the Scooby gang is her latest victim.
20
Spiral Buffy Dawn.jpg
"Spiral" May 8, 2001
Writer: Steven S. DeKnight Director: James A. Contner
Buffy explodes into action and takes the gang on the road once Glory discovers that Dawn is the Key with Glory on their tail blazing a path of destruction. While on the run, things happen fast as Giles and Spike are wounded, Dawn learns she has the power to destroy the universe, and Willow stays close to an incoherent Tara.
21
TWotW Dawn 02.jpg
"The Weight of the World" May 15, 2001
Writer: Douglas Petrie Director: David Solomon
Buffy slips into catatonia after Glory kidnaps Dawn and prepares to bring about the end of the world, so Willow uses her wicca talents to reach Buffy deep inside her innermost secrets and subconscious fears.
22
The Gift Buffy 03.jpg
"The Gift" May 22, 2001
Writer: Joss Whedon Director: Joss Whedon
Another imminent apocalypse is at hand in Sunnydale. Buffy must square off against a true God when Glory prepares to use Dawn to break down the walls between the dimensions and unleash all Hell on Earth. Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Anya, Tara and Spike go to battle with the knowledge that they may not all survive.

Production

  • This is the season with the highest number of cast members, with eight members of the principal cast from episode "Real Me" to "Into the Woods."
  • Joss Whedon has stated about this season: "Our mission statement for season five was family. When you think you've moved on and grown up and moved out of the house and are living your life, family comes back. You realize that they're always a part of your life. Also a very strong message with me is you make your own family, or sometimes it's made for you by monks. So the introduction of Dawn, the death of Buffy's mom, the meeting of Tara's family – all of that stuff was very deliberate. We knew year one of college was freedom and not a lot of mom. But Kristine, luckily, was spending a year in Italy, so it was perfect. And we said, 'Perfect, then you'll come back and you'll be very heavy in season five and then I'll kill you'."[14]

References

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