Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 5, Episode 18
Air date April 24, 2001
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Michael Gershman
Episode Guide
"Tough Love"
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Emma Caulfield Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn
James Marsters Spike
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Clare Kramer Glory
Adam Busch Warren
Troy T. Blendell Jinx
Amber Benson Tara
Co Starring
Sharon Ferguson Primitive
Todd Duffey Murk
Kelly Donovan Xander Double

"Intervention" is the eighteenth episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the ninety-sixth episode altogether. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by Michael Gershman. It originally broadcast on April 24, 2001.

Giles sends Buffy on a spiritual quest in the desert. Warren delivers the Buffybot to Spike. Xander and Anya see Spike and the Buffybot (whom they mistake for Buffy) have sex. Spike is kidnapped by Glory's minions and Glory decides to torture Spike for The Key's location. Buffy's spiritual journey leads her to the First Slayer, who tells her that death is her gift. Buffy returns and the confusion between herself and the Buffybot is soon sorted out, and they all head to rescue Spike.



The guide in the form of a mountain lion.

Buffy and Dawn are trying to settle into a new routine after their mom's death, which Buffy discusses with Giles following dinner one evening. Giles proposes to Buffy that she resumes her training, however Buffy is unsure despite the progress she had been making in mastering the true abilities of the slayer. Asked for a reason, Buffy confesses her worry that the more she learns, the less human she feels worrying that people don't know how much she cares about them (in particular, she worries that Joyce didn't know how much Buffy loved her). Giles suggests he and Buffy go to a sacred location in the desert so that she can undergo a vision quest. When they arrive, Giles performs a ritual to create Buffy's guide. A mountain lion appears and directs Buffy into the desert, which she recalls from her dream.

518 Intervention1

Buffybot: I wanna hurt you, but I can't resist the sinister attraction of your cold and muscular body.

Glory orders her minions to watch the Slayer and see who is new and special in her life, as that person is likely to be the Key. That night, one of the minions watches the gang through a window; Dawn secretly takes Anya's earrings from a table.

Spike receives his Buffybot from Warren who quickly leaves town. Spike and his Buffybot pretend to fight, which inevitably leads to sex. While Spike is sleeping it off, the Buffybot heads out to patrol for vampires. She runs into Xander and Anya in a graveyard and they believe her to be Buffy, but are puzzled because she is acting strangely—she didn't even ask about Dawn. Turning back to make sure Buffy is OK, Xander and Anya witness Spike and the Buffybot having sex in the cemetery. Xander and Anya are shocked and they go to Willow's place to tell her what they saw. Unbeknownst to them, Glory's minions also witness Spike and Buffy, and they conclude that Spike is the Key, and they rush back to tell Glory. At Willow's place, all are horrified and disturbed by Buffy's behavior, and Xander goes back to confront Spike. Spike has the Buffybot hide in the crypt from Xander. He tells Spike that he's taking advantage of Buffy during a difficult time. While they argue, Glory's minions show up, knock Xander unconscious, and take Spike (they don't see the Buffybot). Glory is upset when she sees Spike, as she knows a vampire cannot be the Key. The minions insist that they saw Buffy protecting him ahead of the others, and Glory reasons that Spike may know something so decides to torture the information out of him.
518 Intervention2

Buffy: Death is not a gift.

Buffy wakes to find the First Slayer on the opposite side of a large fire. The First Slayer advises Buffy that love is at the center of all Slayers and that love will bring Buffy to her gift. When Buffy asks "What gift?", the First Slayer tells her death is her gift. Buffy insists that death is certainly not her gift, as she knows the pain that it can cause after losing her mother and doesn't want to offer it to anyone. The First Slayer states that Buffy's question has been answered, and disappears.

Worried about Spike, the Buffybot ignores the unconscious Xander at the crypt and goes to Willow's apartment for help. Willow sternly talks to the Buffybot (whom she mistakes for Buffy) about her sexual relationship with Spike, Xander comes home and fills everyone in about Spike being taken by Glory's minions. Realizing that Glory now has a captive who knows that Dawn is the Key, the gang goes to Buffy's house to get some weapons so they can either rescue Spike before he can reveal Dawn's secret, or do what must be done to keep him from talking.

When the Buffybot goes upstairs to change, the real Buffy enters, and the gang thinks it's the same Buffy they've just been talking to, creating more confusion. The Buffybot returns from upstairs, and, confronted with two Buffys the gang thinks that the other Buffy is a duplicate, but Buffy realizes right away that it's a robot that was likely built by Warren. She's very indignant that the others actually were fooled at all, and all are disgusted when they realize the Buffybot's purpose. However, Buffy quickly puts it aside when she is informed of Spike's situation; she decides to head out and kill him to prevent him from revealing the truth about Dawn to Glory. Unfortunately, they don't know where Glory is operating from. The only lead Buffy has is the area where she killed Glory's snake so decides to start searching from there.

Meanwhile, Glory is brutally torturing Spike who refuses to tell her the Key's location and subjects her to a symphony of verbal abuse. Spike manages to escape through the elevator, where he finds the Scooby Gang (plus the Buffybot) waiting, and they fight off Glory's minions and leave the mansion, but the Buffybot is damaged and rendered inactive.

At the Magic Box, Willow examines the Buffybot and determines that she'd easily be able to fix it, but sheepishly says she won't after getting a look from Buffy. Giles and Xander return, having dumped Spike back at his crypt. They report that they have been unable to get any hard information out of Spike as to whether or not he exposed Dawn, largely because he was severely beaten and barely conscious. Though disgusted by the Buffybot, Xander feels a bit of sympathy for him because he lost his favorite toy, but also points out the fact that Spike got a severe thrashing. This makes Buffy thoughtful.

518 Intervention3

Buffy: What you did, for me, and Dawn - that was real.... I won't forget it.

Spike rests in his crypt, beaten and bloody. The Buffybot enters the crypt and asks him what happened. When he tells her he didn't tell Glory about Dawn, the Buffybot says she's going to tell Glory, but Spike harshly stops her. She asks Spike why they shouldn't give Glory the information she wants, and Spike explains that the real Buffy would be completely destroyed if anything ever happened to Dawn, and he would rather die than live with Buffy in so much pain. The Buffybot leans over and kisses Spike gently on the lips. Spike pulls back as he suddenly realizes it is actually Buffy pretending to be the Buffybot. Buffy makes it clear that she is disgusted by the robot, but softens up and informs him that she will never forget what he did for them. The Buffybot was obscene and fake, but what he did for them was real. She then departs, leaving a speechless Spike staring after her.


  • According to Buffybot's system screen Xander: Friend. Carpenter. Dates Anya. / Anya: Dates Xander. Likes Money. Ex-Demon. / Willow: Best Friend. Gay (1999–Present). Witch. Good with computers.
  • Spike's dislike of Angel manifests when we see the Buffybot's programmed opinion of Angel is that he is "lame. His hair goes straight up and he's bloody stupid."
  • The desert in which the mountain lion leads Buffy on the vision quest in "Intervention" is the same desert which Buffy dreamed about in "Restless". She says she remembers it. It's the first place she saw the First Slayer.
  • When it's revealed to the group that there are two Buffys, Xander says, "Hey, I know this! They're both Buffy!" This is a reference to "The Replacement", in which Xander's psyche was split into two separate bodies, but were still two parts of the same whole.
  • Buffy gently kisses Spike out of gratitude at the end of this episode, this time not influenced by a spell as in "Something Blue".
  • The Buffybot, first introduced in this episode, plays a crucial role in "The Gift" and "Bargaining".
  • Dawn is shown to steal Anya's earrings; her increasing kleptomania is eventually discovered in the Season Six episode "Older and Far Away".
  • In this episode, Buffy finds out that "death is [her] gift", which leads to her decision to die to save the world in "The Gift".
  • Buffy recants her earlier words to Spike upon discovering that he is capable of great personal sacrifice on her behalf, and welcomes him back into the fold.

Body Count

  • One vampire, dusted by Anya
  • One vampire, dusted by the Buffybot
  • One vampire, dusted by Spike

Behind the Scenes


  • The Buffybot pronounces "Giles" with a hard g (as in "guy-els"). Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon have said on several occasions that they get annoyed with so-called fans of the show when they pronounce "Giles" in this way.
  • Nicholas Brendon's twin brother Kelly Donovan is listed in the end credits. Nicholas was sick and his brother substituted for him for a couple of scenes.

Pop Culture References

  • When Buffy sees the mountain lion that leads her on the quest, she says "Hello Kitty".

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • When Glory punches Spike, his arms fall out despite being tied up, and when he hits the wall, his arms are tied up again.
  • It is possible to briefly glimpse the mountain lion's animal trainer's jacket when Buffy first sees her guide and again, the trainer's feet when she reaches her destination.
  • On one of the focus shots of Dawn's growing kleptomania, she eyes a pair of earrings with translucent amber-style stones and wooden hearts; when she "casually" approaches the table, she picks up two earrings that are smaller and a solid off-white.
  • If you watch the "grass" during the cemetery fight with Spike, Buffybot, Anya, and Xander against the vampires; it moves as if it is a cushion or carpet. You can see Spike move the grass carpet up (revealing the gray cement floor) right before he slays the last vampire.
  • When the Scoobies go to Buffy's house for weapons, as soon as Xander walks over to the weapons chest and says "...we're going to need these", when he reaches in the chest, you can see a crew member moving and part of the equipment off to the right of the screen. Then when Xander says "yeah so we should look...", the camera pans out and we see this brown/black box that appears out of nowhere in the spot where the filming equipment was sitting. It remains there for the rest of the scene. However, at the end of this scene, there is a black cloth hanging behind Xander.

International titles

  • French: La quête (The quest)
  • German: Der Zorn der Göttin (The Wrath of the Goddess)



  • This episode is Spike-centric.


Buffy starts the episode by questioning if she has became less human due to her role as the Slayer, showing her concern that for a while now it has been turning her to stone. The spirit guide tells her that this is not true, she is not losing the ability to love and that in fact she loves with all her soul.

The presence of the Buffybot in this episode is an extension of that argument. The robot acts joyfully, carelessly and always energetic - which is contrasted with the real Buffy's dramatic demeanor in this episode (clearly because of Joyce's recent death and being overpowered by Glory, who poses a serious threat to Dawn's safety). In the end though the fact is that the one with a "bubbly" attitude is the robot while Buffy is truly human, even throughout the pain and darkness that surrounds her during this episode.

This is most likely an intentional point made by the writer and is also a statement to Sarah Michelle Gellar's acting skills, being able to play these two complete opposites in a single episode, while delivering the intended result for both - Buffybot's comic relief and absurdity and the personal growth and suffering of the real Buffy.
This article contains major spoilers for a recently or soon to be released product. Read at your own risk.
The phrase said by the guide, "death is your gift" is referring to the fact that by offering her own life Buffy will be able to save the world - which she ultimately does in the season finale, aptly titled The Gift.


Buffybot - "Anya, how's your money?"
Anya - "Fine! Thank you for asking."
Buffy - "So, how's it start?"
Giles - "I, uh, jump out of the circle and then jump back in it, and then, um... I shake my gourd."
Buffy - "I know this ritual! The ancient shamans were next called upon to do the hokey-pokey and turn themselves around."
Giles - "Go quest." [Performs the ritual]
Buffy - "And that's what it's all about."
Buffy - "A Guide, but no food or water. So it leads me to the sacred place, and then a week later it leads you to my bleached bones?"
Giles - "Buffy, please... It takes more than a week to bleach bones."
Anya - " Sometimes in the movies when they go crazy, they slap 'em."
Xander - "I'm going to go find her and talk to her. If she's losing it, we gotta help her before she gets herself hurt."
Tara - "You're not really gonna slap her, are you?"
Xander - "No but if I have to see her straddle Spike again, I am definitely knocking myself unconscious."
Glory - "What the hell is that and why is its hair that color?"
Minion - "We believe it's The Key."
Glory - "Really?! That's fantabulous! And impossible. He can't be The Key. Because, see, The Key has to be pure. [sniffs Spike] This is a vampire. Lesson #1: Vampire equals impure!"
Spike - "Yeah, damn right. I'm impure. I'm as impure as a driven yellow snow. Let me go."
Xander - "No one is judging you. It's understandable. Spike is strong and mysterious and sort of compact but well-muscled!"
Buffy - "I am not having sex with Spike but I'm starting to think that you might be!"
Xander - "Hey, I know this. They're both Buffy."
Buffy - "No. She's a robot. She acts just like that girlfriend bot that Warren guy made. You guys couldn't tell me apart from a robot?"
Buffy (as Buffybot) - "Why did you let that Glory hurt you?"
Spike - "She wanted to know who The Key was. "
Buffy (as Buffybot) - "Well, I'll go tell her and you won't have to-"
Spike - "No![coughs in pain] You can't ever. Glory never finds out."
Buffy (as Buffybot) - "Why?"
Spike - "'Cause Buffy. The other, not so pleasant Buffy. Anything happened to Dawn, it'd destroy her... And I can't live seeing her in that much pain. I'd let Glory kill me first. Nearly bloody did."
Spike - "...And my robot?"
Buffy - "The robot is gone. The robot was gross and obscene."
Spike - "It wasn't supposed to-"
Buffy - "Don't. That thing, it... it's not even real. [turns to go, but stops] What you did for me and Dawn, that was real. I won't forget it.