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"Grave" is the season finale of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 122nd in the series. Written by David Fury and directed by James A. Contner, it was originally broadcast on May 21, 2002, on the UPN network.


In the conclusion of the sixth-season finale, a magical friend helps the Scooby Gang try to stop Willow. But the witch still has a few tricks up her sleeve — and an unwilling assistant.[1]


At the Magic Box, Willow starts to recover from Giles' attack, but she is not interested in his attempts to help. He tries to keep her down, but she is persistent, attempting to invoke Asmodea, so he is forced to bind her physically and magically with his powers. Buffy and Anya hug Giles, who then offers his sympathies to Willow and then catches up with Buffy. Giles reveals that he was given power from a coven of powerful witches in England to stop Willow. Buffy admits that Willow was abusing magic before and she barely even noticed. She then tells Giles how everything has gone downhill since he left including her taking a fast-food job, Xander jilting Anya (who returned to being a vengeance demon), Dawn's shoplifting, and her sleeping with Spike. Giles's reaction is the last one she expected; he begins to laugh at the absurdity of so much bad luck. Buffy is shocked at first, but ends up descending into laughter too.

Meanwhile, Willow communicates with Anya telepathically and puts her under her thrall before telling her how to remove the binding spell. Buffy and Giles continue to laugh about the luck of their lives and then talk about Buffy's feelings about being alive in the world. Having heard everything that went wrong in his absence, Giles apologizes for leaving them in the first place, but Buffy insists that he was right and it was time she started acting like an adult. She admits that when he left, she still felt like she'd left an important part of herself in her grave and still doesn't know why she's back when it was apparently her time to die. Giles doesn't have a simple answer, so they return to discussing Willow and Giles explains that the coven is trying to extract Willow's powers without killing her. Willow appears in the doorway, holding an unconscious Anya, and reveals that she's free of the binding spell.

Giles once again attempts to bind Willow, but she casts a counter spell. Willow magically throws Buffy aside and sends weapons flying at Giles. He blocks them though and, with the Hammer of Govannon, sends her flying through a brick wall into the main room. Meanwhile, Xander and Dawn walk down a road with Jonathan and Andrew, talking about what to do next. Xander again rambles on that he believes how useless he is, that he's really a coward because he did nothing when Warren shot Buffy and Tara, and did nothing at the Magic Box to stop Willow. When a smug Dawn mentions that Spike would help out and not be afraid, Xander lets it slip that Spike tried to rape Buffy. Dawn does not easily accept that.

In the cave in Africa, Spike wins another round and asks for whatever else the demon can dish out. He gets it when his body is suddenly covered in beetles which begin to burrow under his skin, making him scream in pain.

In the Magic Box, which has been almost completely destroyed from the magical battle, Willow is confident in her strength and a weakened Giles tries one last attempt to hurt Willow by bringing up Tara and what her thoughts on the situation might be. Willow responds with a bolt of magic, but Buffy saves Giles from the blast, which destroys the store's upper level. Willow notes that Buffy only thinks she's saving Andrew and Jonathan when she can destroy them anytime she wants. To prove this, Willow creates a fireball that she sends off after them which will also kill Xander and Dawn, making it clear that she's doing it to get Buffy out of the store. Despite the obvious lure, Buffy rushes off to try and stop the fireball, leaving Giles to face Willow alone.

Willow lectures Giles while she slams his body repeatedly against the ceiling and the floor. He interrupts her with some magic, but she doesn't let that stop her. She sucks the power from Giles' body and revels in the overflow in her body. The magic she took from him though is accompanied by an emotional burst that makes her feel so much that she decides there's too much pain in the world and she must end it all.

Xander, Jonathan, and Andrew try to break into crypts at the cemetery looking for a hiding place, but they're interrupted as Willow's fireball heads for them. Buffy races through the cemetery and tries to get everyone out of the way before they're hurt. After the fireball hits, Xander is knocked out, the ground shakes and opens up and Buffy and Dawn fall into a large hole. Andrew and Jonathan take the opportunity to escape and head for Mexico.

At the Magic Box, Anya finally comes to and finds a weakened, dying Giles on the ground. He can feel Willow's presence and knows that she's going to end the world. Buffy tries to climb out of the hole but struggles and tries to pull coffins out of the surrounding dirt walls to stack and try to escape on. After Xander comes to, Buffy sends him to find some rope to help them get out.

Dawn questions why Buffy didn't tell her about what Spike did and tells her sister that she can't protect her from the world. Anya appears in the hole and updates Buffy on the situation with Willow. On Kingman's Bluff, Willow raises the spire of a Satanic temple out of the ground to help her with her plans. Anya explains how Willow is going to end the world by using her powerful new-found magic to drain Earth's life energy though the effigy of Proserpexa, and that nothing magical or supernatural (including Buffy) can stop her. She notes that Giles is short on time and leaves to return to him.

Xander, standing at the top of the hole, overhears this and runs off. Willow senses Buffy's desire to stop her plans, and talks to Buffy telepathically; Giles can also hear her as she speaks. Willow wants Buffy to die fighting and creates creature-like earth elements for her to battle. Buffy tries to fight the elements as best as she can and, outnumbered, Buffy asks Dawn to help.

Willow begins her magic ritual on the cliff and the earth starts to shake all over town and ground begins to blacken. Willow is feeding power into the temple when Xander arrives. Finally breaking through his spiral of self-pity, Xander jumps in the way disrupting the flow of life-energy. He tries to reach her humanity through their friendship, but gets tossed around and magically injured. Giles stirs and realizes that there is still hope. After one of the elements attacks her, Dawn kills one, which she credits to watching her sister in action.

On the cliff, the wounded Xander talks to Willow, and appeals to her emotions by reminding her of her past. He reminds Willow of a time in their childhood when she broke a yellow crayon and cried, worried about anybody finding out it was her, and tells her that he loves her and he'll stick by her side no matter what she does because of how much her years of friendship mean to him. She uses magic to physically wound him every time he tells her he loves her, until he finally gets through to her and her powers drain away. Willow tearfully breaks down in Xander's arms as the dark magic finally drains from her, the black veins on her disappear, and she returns to her usual red-haired appearance.

No longer on the edge of death, Giles wakes up and tells Anya that the magic he received was intended for Willow to steal. It tapped into her remaining emotions and gave Xander the chance to reach her humanity. Anya is shocked to find that Xander saved the world. Back in the crypt, the Earth-creatures disappear, and Buffy starts to cry happy tears. Dawn questions whether instead she really wanted the world to end. Buffy assures her that she didn't and promises things are going to get better; she no longer has any regrets or resentment about being resurrected and feels ready to live, wanting to be there for Dawn and see the powerful woman she'll become. For the second time in a year, Buffy emerges from a grave but this time she feels truly alive. She helps Dawn climb out of the hole and the sisters check out the horizon while Xander continues to comfort Willow, Jonathan and Andrew hitch a ride toward Mexico, and Anya helps Giles to his feet and out of the wreckage of the Magic Box.

In Africa, a severely bruised and bloodied Spike lies on the ground of the cave as the demon approaches him and announces that Spike has successfully endured all the required trials to grant his request. Spike rises to his knees and again asks the demon to give him what he wants so he can, "give Buffy what she deserves." The demon places his clawed hand on Spike's chest and returns the vampire's soul.


  • From the ending of episode "Entropy," all events until the season finale occur within 3 nights (including the one that ends with the dawn at the end of this episode).
  • Willow resents Giles for calling her a "rank, arrogant amateur" during their argument in episode "Flooded."
  • Buffy tells Giles about various events he's missed, such as Xander leaving Anya at the altar ("Hell's Bells"), Dawn's kleptomania (discovered in "Older and Far Away"), Buffy working at the Doublemeat Palace ("Doublemeat Palace"), her sexual relationship with Spike ("Smashed"), and when she was poisoned by the Glarghk Guhl Kashmas'nik ("Normal Again").
  • Giles apologizes to Buffy for leaving the Scoobies in "Tabula Rasa."
  • Willow refers to Andrew as "the other one." This is part of the running joke of the Scooby Gang being unable to recall Andrew's name, also present in "Gone," "Never Leave Me," "Two to Go," Turbulence, and Own It, Part Five.
  • The Magic Box is destroyed in this episode. The next headquarters for the Scooby Gang will be Buffy's home.
  • Pelletti's grave is visible in front of Alpert mausoleum. Dawn will fight the recently risen vampire in "Lessons."
  • Kingman's Bluff, where Willow tries to invoke Proserpexa, is the very same area where Angel attempted to commit suicide in "Amends."
  • In the previous episode, Buffy says her main strategy for dealing with Willow will be to talk to her, which Xander dismisses, though that's pretty much what he does to convince her to stop.
  • Buffy ends the season crawling out of the grave again, replacing the traumatic event in the season debut "Bargaining, Part Two."
  • Dawn proves herself to be a capable fighter and Buffy agrees to stop being overprotective of her. She is already seen training her sister to fight vampires in "Lessons."
  • Willow leaves her corrupt self and goes to England with Giles for a magic rehabilitation to control this ("Lessons," "Beneath You"). Although, she'll only reconcile with her darkness as part of her in Wonderland, Part Five.
  • Spike receives a soul, an event that significantly impacts the Buffyverse. He's the second known vampire to be ensouled, after Angelus in "Becoming, Part One" then "Part Two." Spike will temporarily lose it in Give and Take.
  • Before he returns to Sunnydale, Spike will visit the town of Greenville in the graphic novel Spike: Into the Light.
  • Spike will be reunited with Buffy in "Lessons," but she'll only learn about his soul in the episode "Beneath You."



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • Multiple horned demons, killed by Spike.
  • Three earth golems, destroyed with a sword by Buffy.
  • One earth golem, decapitated with a sword by Dawn.
  • Two earth golems, automatically destroyed when Dark Willow become normal again.

Behind the scenes[]


  • This is the only Buffy season finale not written and directed by Joss Whedon.
  • David Fury mentions that he had intended for Willow to stand and pace while she talks about the effects of sucking Giles's magic, but Alyson Hannigan wanted to sit during the speech. She wanted to convey that draining the magic weakened her at first but then made her stronger.[2]
  • Director James A. Contner says that while filming the scenes with Willow and Xander on the cliff, the wind churned up dust, which blew into Alyson Hannigan's eyes. Because of the dust, Hannigan removed her black contacts and her eyes were blackened digitally in post-production.[2]
  • One of the original ideas for the finale was for Buffy to fight the dragon we glimpse at the end of "The Gift." However, CGI dragons are expensive and "Once More, with Feeling" had taken up a great deal of the season's budget.[2]
  • This is one of only two episodes in the series where one of Sarah's real life tattoos is visible. It is seen when Giles and Buffy are laughing in the training room and later when Buffy is crawling out from the grave with Dawn. The other episode it appears is "Lessons."


  • This episode, and its first part, "Two to Go," were shown back-to-back as a two-hour feature on its original airing in both the USA and UK — consequently, the presentation of this episode on DVD includes credits such as "'Two to Go' Written by."
  • "Two to Go"/"Grave" had an audience of 3.3 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

  • This line was cut due to length where Giles talks about the true essence of magic:[4]
    Giles: "Which comes, in all its purity, from the Earth itself."

Pop culture references[]

  • As the camera pans across the destroyed Magic Box, and comes to rest on Willow's boots, one of the books on the floor is a novel by William Shatner.
  • Willow makes a reference to The Wizard of Oz film with the line "Fly, my pretty. Fly."


  • When Xander, Dawn, Jonathan and Andrew are hiding out in the cemetery and trying to enter crypts, Xander visibly shakes a small, supposedly solid stone crypt when trying to kick open its small door, making it obvious that it's a set piece.
  • As Willow is raising the satanic spire on the bluff, two support wires attached to the rear of the spire can clearly be seen (with red ends) when the camera is behind the spire, facing Willow.
  • When Andrew and Jonathan are in the truck, the landscape outside their window is not moving.
  • During the shot where Xander almost falls into the hole, someone off screen is visible holding him by the belt. Also, when they show Xander (camera facing upwards out of the hole), the boom mic is visible to the left side of the screen.
  • When Willow shoots Xander back into the effigy, the statue briefly moves as Xander hits it right before the camera cuts.


International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Գերեզման" (Grave)
  • Czech: "Hrob" (Grave)
  • Finnish: "Kivun kääntöpiiri"
  • French: "Toute la Peine du Monde, Partie 2" (All of the World's Sorrow, Part 2)
  • German: "Der Retter" (The Savior)
  • Hungarian: "Betemet" (Burial)
  • Italian: "Baratro" (Chasm)
  • Japanese: "墓" (Grave)
  • Polish: "Grób" (Grave)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "O Dia do Juízo Final" (The Judgement Day)
  • Romanian: "Mormântul" (Grave)
  • Russian: "Могила" (Grave)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Sepulcro" (Grave)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Dos para la Tumba (2ª Parte)" (Two for the Grave (2nd Part))



Promotional stills[]


Giles: "Duct tape?"
Buffy: "On their mouths. So the demon could eat them..."
Giles: "Because they were figments."
Buffy: "All of it! You, Sunnydale... And I was just some nutcase in L.A."
Giles: "Of course. Why didn't we see it before? Can you forgive me?"
Buffy: "For what?"
Giles: "I should never have left."
Buffy: "No. You were right to leave. We're just... stupid."
Giles: "I know you're all stupid. I should never have abandoned you."
Buffy: "No. Giles, you were right about everything. It is time I was an adult."
Giles: "Sometimes the most adult thing you can do is... ask for help when you need it."
Buffy: "Now you tell me."
Anya: "Thanks a lot for coming. It was good of you to teleport all this way. Though, in retrospect, it probably would have been better if you hadn't come and given Willow all that magic that made her, like, ten times more powerful. That would have been a plus."
Xander: "The first day of kindergarten you cried because you broke the yellow crayon and you were too afraid to tell anyone. You've come pretty far, ending the world, not a terrific notion, but the thing is, yeah, I love you. I loved crayon-breaking Willow and I love scary veiny Willow. So if I'm going out it's here. If you wanna kill the world, well then start with me. I've earned that."
Willow: "You think I won't."
Xander: "It doesn't matter. I'll still love you."
Dawn: "Wait, is... is that happy crying?"
Buffy: "Yes, dummy. You think I wanted the world to end?"
Dawn: "I don't know. Didn't you?"
Buffy: "Dawn... I'm so sorry."
Dawn: "It's okay, Buffy. It's okay."
Buffy: "No. It hasn't been. It hasn't been okay. But it's gonna be, though. I see it."
Dawn: "See what?"
Buffy: "You. Things have really sucked lately, but it's all gonna change. And I wanna be there when it does. I want to see my friends happy again. And I want to see you grow up. The woman you're gonna become. Because she's gonna be beautiful. And she's going to be powerful. I got it so wrong. I don't want to protect you from the world. I want to show it to you. There's so much that I want to show you."


  1. "Season 6." Craig's BuffyVERSE 4ever. Retrieved on April 10, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 James A. Contner and David Fury. The Complete Sixth Season on DVD; audio commentaries for the episode "Grave." [DVD]. 20th Century Studios, May 25, 2004.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Sixth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  4. Christopher Golden, 20 Years of Slaying: The Watcher's Guide. Simon Pulse, October 2017.