Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 6, Episode 22
622 Grave
Air date May 21, 2002
Written by David Fury
Directed by James A. Contner
Episode Guide
"Two to Go"
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Emma Caulfield Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn
James Marsters Spike
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Special Guest Starring
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Danny Strong Jonathan
Tom Lenk Andrew
Co Starring
Steven W. Bailey Cave Demon
Jeff McCredie Officer
Damian Mooney Patrol Cop
Michael Younger Truck Driver
Brett Wagner Trucker

"Grave" is the season finale of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundred twenty-second episode altogether. It was written by David Fury and directed by James A. Contner. It originally broadcast on May 21, 2002.

Dark Willow defeats Giles and decides to end her suffering and the world's by bringing on an apocalypse.



Giles contains Willow in a binding spell.

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 Vengance 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 tells her how to end 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.

Buffy Anya hug Giles1

Anya and Buffy hug Giles.

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 another spell, 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.[1] Dawn does not easily accept that.

In the cave in Africa, Spike wins another round in the cave 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.

622 Grave2

You're always saving everyone. It's kinda pesky.

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.

622 Grave3

I know where Willow is. She's going to finish it.

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.


Willow trying to destroy the Earth.

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 the demon 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.


Xander holding a broken Willow.

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 and feelings of cowardice, 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.

Jonathon Andrew leave

Andrew and Jonathan on the lam.

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 that things are going to get better and she's now really ready to live. 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.

622 Grave4

Spike regains his soul.

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 18, 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).
  • The Magic Box is destroyed in this episode.
  • Kingman's Bluff, where Willow tries to invoke Proserpexa, is the very same area where Angel attempted to commit suicide. ("Amends")
  • Xander's importance to the "gang" is demonstrated as he prevents Willow from destroying the world, by trying to reach any part of the humanity Willow has left inside her. He tells her a story from their childhood, and says he loves her no matter what she does to him. When she slashes his face and arms, he responds "I love you." His love eventually breaks through and she breaks down crying in Xander's arms, reverting back to the old Willow. It had been earlier stated that no Slayer or supernatural force could stop Willow, therefore Xander, having no powers, had as much chance of stopping her as anyone else (perhaps more of a chance given his lifelong friendship with her). 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 comments to Giles that she feels that when she crawled out of her grave, she left part of herself behind. At the end of this episode, she must once again crawl out of a grave, this time with Dawn. The first time, she was disoriented, it was night, and Sunnydale had been overrun by demons. This time, it is morning and she is with Dawn, and they look out over a beautiful forest. This symbolizes a chance for Buffy to start over, and really live for the first time since she was brought back to life at the beginning of the season — thus completing the circle begun with her resurrection the previous fall.
  • Dawn proves herself to be a capable fighter and Buffy agrees to stop being overprotective of her, which will become important in Season 7.
  • Spike receives a soul, an event that will significantly impact both Season 7 and Season 5 of Angel, as well as the canonical comic book continuations.
  • Despite being the Big Bad, Willow's motivations here are somewhat more morally ambiguous than those of other Big Bads: she wishes to end the world not out of a purely selfish desire or anger, but because she wishes to put an end to the pain experienced throughout the world.
  • This is also the only season finale in which Buffy plays virtually no part in defeating the Big Bad. Instead, it's Xander who manages to stop the apocalypse. However, in keeping with the show's theme of gender role reversal, Xander does not use any physical strength or force to defeat Willow, only words.

Body 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 again normal.



Behind the Scenes


  • This is the only Buffy season finale not written and directed by Joss Whedon. Also, this is the only season in which only one episode, "Once More, with Feeling", was written and/or directed by Whedon.
  • In the DVD commentary for this episode, director James 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.
  • Also in the commentary, 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.
  • In classic Buffyverse style, writers and producers of the show retire The Magic Box set by utterly destroying it.
  • One of the original ideas for the finale was for Buffy to fight the dragon we glimpse at the end of "The Gift". However ,"Once More with Feeling" had taken up a great deal of the season's budget so instead the dragon appeared in the final Angel episode "Not Fade Away".  

Deleted Scenes

  • This line was cut due to length where Giles talks about the true essence of magic:
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 with this line: "Fly, my pretty. Fly." See what she did there?

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • When Willow surprises Buffy and Giles in the back room of The Magic Box after the title sequence and throws Buffy into the wall, you can see it is a set piece when it moves backwards slightly in a way no brick wall would.
  • A similar error occurs 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.
  • If you look closely, during the scene where Willow and Giles confront each other and Willow heals her cuts on her face, you can tell that not only are the cuts gone but she also has a fresh coat of lipstick.
  • 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 at the end you can see that the landscape outside their window is not moving.
  • During the shot where Xander almost falls into the hole, you can see someone off screen holding him by the belt. Also, when they show Xander (camera facing upwards out of the hole), you can see the boom mic off to the left side of the screen.



  • Willow refers to Jonathan and Andrew as "Jonathan and the other one". This is part of the running joke, even in the midst of the grimness, that the Scoobies can never remember Andrew's name or what he's done. This becomes somewhat ironic since in season seven and beyond, Andrew becomes a key member of the team.
  • This is one of only two episodes in the entire series where you can briefly see one of Sarah's real life tattoos. It is seen when Giles and Buffy are talking in the training room (as she is bent over the vaulting horse laughing) and later when Buffy is crawling out from the grave with Dawn. It can also be seen in the first act of the episode "Lessons".
  • This episode is Willow-centric.
  • Although Joss Whedon is a professed atheist, many have commented on the Christian imagery of the finale; a simple carpenter saves the world through love and forgiveness followed by a resurrection from a grave.
  • This is the last episode of the series to not feature the Summers House, it would be used for every single episode of season 7.

International titles

  • Brazilian Portuguese: O Dia do Juízo Final (Judgement day)
  • German: Der Retter (The Savior)
  • French: Toute la peine du monde, partie 2 (All of the world's sorrow, part 2)


Giles - "I came as soon as I heard."
Buffy - "The Council?"
Giles - "The Council haven't a clue. About much of anything, really." (walking toward Buffy, leaning on the horse) "No, there's an... an extremely powerful coven in Devon. They sensed the rise of a dangerous magical force here in Sunnydale. A dark force, fueled by grief."
Buffy - "Willow."
Giles - "I'd so hoped it wasn't her." (pauses) "And then a seer in the coven told me about Tara. That's when the coven ... imbued me with their powers."
Buffy - "And sent you here to bring Willow down."
Giles - (looks at her) "Buffy, what's happened here?"
Buffy - (pacing) "God. I don't even know where to start."
Giles - "Well, Willow's clearly been abusing the magicks."
Buffy - (nods) "She has. She was ... and I barely even noticed. Giles, everything's just been so..." (sighs) "Xander left Anya at the altar, and Anya's a vengeance demon again..." (Giles looking shocked) "Dawn's a total klepto... money's been so tight that I've been slinging burgers at the Doublemeat Palace ..." (looks down at the floor) "And I've been sleeping with Spike." (Buffy pauses, looks up at Giles, looks as if she can't believe she just said that. Giles stares at her. She looks away again, embarrassed. Suddenly Giles starts laughing. He covers his mouth with his hand but can't stop. Buffy stares at him, pouty.)
Giles - (trying to calm down) "Sorry." (He bursts out laughing again. Buffy rolls her eyes, now just looks amused. Giles keeps laughing, and slowly Buffy starts to laugh, too. They both stand there laughing.)

Giles - (laughing) "Duct tape?"
Buffy - (laughing) "On their mouths. So the demon could eat them..."
Giles - "Because they were figments." (More laughing)
Buffy - "All of it! You, Sunnydale... And I was just some nutcase in L.A."
Giles - (still laughing) "Of course. Why didn't we see it before?" (Slowly they stop laughing, and look much calmer than before. Buffy holds her stomach) "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." (Buffy smiling) "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." (They smile. Giles chuckles a little)

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."
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."

Dawn - "It's okay, Buffy. It's okay."
Buffy - "No. It hasn't been. It hasn't been okay." (Buffy pulls back to look Dawn in the face) "But it's gonna be, though. I see it."
Dawn - "See what?"
Buffy - "You." (Dawn looks touched) "Things have really sucked lately, but it's all gonna change. And I wanna be there when it does." (starting to cry again) "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." (Now Dawn gets a little teary as well) "And she's going to be powerful." (Buffy turns around, back toward the coffin) "I got it so wrong. I don't want to protect you from the world. I want to show it to you." (She turns back to Dawn again.) "There's so much that I want to show you." (They hug again, smiling.)