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"Intervention" is the eighteenth episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the ninety-sixth episode in the series. Written by Jane Espenson and directed by Michael Gershman, it was originally broadcast on April 24, 2001, on The WB network.


FULL OF LOVE — 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.[1]


Buffy and Dawn are trying to settle into a new routine after their mother's death, which Buffy discusses with Giles following dinner one evening. Giles proposes to Buffy that she resumes her training, but she 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. Buffy worries about leaving Dawn, but Dawn encourages her to go while she stays with the Scoobies. Buffy repeatedly says she loves Dawn, explaining it's important she tells her.

Spike receives his robot from Warren, who quickly leaves town.

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 through a window of Xander's apartment; Dawn secretly takes Anya's earrings from a table.

Giles and Buffy arrive at the sacred location, and Giles performs a ritual to call upon the Guide. A mountain lion appears and directs Buffy into the desert, which she recognizes from her dream.

In his crypt, Spike and the Buffybot pretend to fight, which inevitably leads to sex. While Spike is sleeping, the Buffybot heads out to patrol for vampires. She runs into Xander and Anya patrolling in Restfield Cemetery. They believe her to be Buffy but are puzzled because she is acting strangely — she didn't ask about Dawn. Turning back to make sure Buffy is okay, Xander and Anya witness Spike and the Buffybot having sex. Xander and Anya are shocked, and they go to his apartment to discuss with Willow and Tara what they saw. Unbeknownst to them, Glory's minions also witness Buffybot defending Spike from a vampire; they conclude that Spike is the Key and rush back to tell Glory.

At Xander's apartment, the Scoobies are horrified and disturbed by Buffy's behavior. Xander goes back to confront Spike in his crypt. Spike has the Buffybot hide 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. Glory is disappointed 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. She decides to torture the information out of him.

Buffy wakes to find her guide in the form of the First Slayer on the opposite side of a large fire. The Guide advises Buffy that love is at the center of all Slayers, and that love will bring Buffy to her gift: death. 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 Guide 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 Xander's apartment for help. Willow 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 weapons so they can either retrieve 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. The Buffybot returns from upstairs, and, confronted with two Buffys, the gang gets even more confused, but Buffy realizes right away it's a robot like the girlfriend Warren built. She's indignant that the others were fooled at all, and all are disgusted when they realize the Buffybot's purpose. Buffy is informed of Spike's situation and decides to head out and kill him to prevent him from revealing the truth about Dawn to Glory, but they don't know where Glory is operating from. The only lead Buffy has is the area where she killed Glory's demonic snake, so they start searching from there.

Meanwhile, Glory is torturing Spike, who refuses to tell her the Key's location and subjects her to a sequence of insults. He manages to escape through the elevator, where he finds the Scooby Gang (plus the Buffybot) waiting. They fight off Glory's minions and leave the mansion with him, 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 says she won't after getting a look from Buffy. Giles and Xander arrive at the shop, 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.

In his crypt, Spike is resting, beaten and bloody. The Buffybot arrives and asks him what happened. He tells her he didn't tell Glory about Dawn, so the Buffybot says she's going to tell Glory, but he stops her. She asks Spike why they shouldn't give Glory the information she wants, and Spike explains that the real Buffy would be 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 on the lips. Spike suddenly pulls back, confused, and observes as Buffy turns to leave. He asks about his robot, and Buffy makes it clear that the robot was disgusting, but she adds that what he did for them was real, and she won't forget it. She then departs, leaving Spike staring after her.


  • Warren finished the robot Spike requested in "I Was Made to Love You."
  • Buffy recognizes the desert the mountain lion leads her as well as the vision of the first Slayer, having dreamed about them in "Restless."
  • Dawn is shown to steal Anya's earrings; her increasing kleptomania is eventually discovered in the episode "Older and Far Away."
  • Upon hearing that Buffy was supposedly having sex with Spike, Tara says "she's nuts"; in "Dead Things," she reacts more sympathetically to Buffy when she confesses the same thing.
  • According to Buffybot's system screen, Willow is gay since 1999, when she first met Tara ("Hush").
  • In this episode, Buffy finds out that "death is [her] gift," which will contribute to her insight on how to save the world in "The Gift."
  • Buffy will describe her encounter with the Guide to the Potential Slayers when they venture the same quest, in "The Killer in Me."
  • Spike endures Glory's torture and hides Dawn's identity as the Key, which he discovered in the episode "Blood Ties."
  • Xander says Buffy's supposed attraction to Spike is "understandable." In different circumstances, Xander will react with disappointment when he discovers Buffy has been having sex with Spike ("Entropy").
  • Xander describes Spike as "sort of compact, but well-muscled." Years later, he'll ask him: "How are your muscles so hard and your skin so soft?" (I Wish, Part Two).
  • 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.
  • The Scoobies find Glory's mansion based on Buffy's memory from the area she fought the Spawn of Sobek in "Shadow."
  • The Buffybot will be kept in the Magic Box from then on, then reconfigured to play a crucial role in "The Gift" until her destruction in "Bargaining, Part Two."
  • Buffy recants her earlier words to Spike in "Crush" upon discovering that he is capable of great personal sacrifice on her behalf, and welcomes him back into the fold.
  • Buffy kisses Spike out of gratitude, this time not influenced by a spell as in "Something Blue." They will kiss again in "Once More, with Feeling," when they begin their secret affair.



Organizations and titles[]




Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • One vampire, staked by Anya.
  • One vampire, staked by the Buffybot.
  • One vampire, staked by Spike.
  • One minion of Glory, killed by Buffy with an arrow from a crossbow.

Behind the scenes[]


  • To call upon the guide, Giles reads in Swahili: "…nilivyoahidi kulinda na kuongoza, nakupokeza. Mpeleke afike mahali pa usalama na ujuzi. Mpe anavyohitaji. Mwonyeshe njia." This translates to English as: "…that which I am pledged to guard and guide, I hand over to you. Lead her to a place of safety and learning. Give her that which she needs. Show her the path…"
  • The Buffybot pronounces "Giles" with a hard g (as in "guy-els"), which is the pronunciation for his name in some official international dubbing for the series.
  • Nicholas Brendon's twin brother Kelly Donovan is listed in the end credits. Nicholas was sick and his brother substituted for him for a scene.[2]
  • According to costume designer Cynthia Bergstrom, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Joss Whedon disagreed over the Buffybot's costume. On the day of filming, Whedon took out his frustration on Bergstrom: "Sarah was adamant about it being a certain way. The costume she wanted was a bit grandma-ish — a pleated skirt and high neck. He definitely wanted it to be sexier. I was like, 'Joss, let's just get her dressed.' He grabbed my arm and dug in his fingers until his fingernails imprinted the skin, and I said, 'You're hurting me.'"[3]


  • "Intervention" had an audience of 3.0 million households upon its original airing.[4]

Pop culture references[]


  • When Glory punches Spike, his arms fall out despite being tied up. 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 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 approaches the table, she picks up two earrings that are smaller and a solid off-white.
  • The "grass" during the cemetery fight, with Spike, Buffybot, Anya, and Xander against the vampires, moves as if it is a cushion or carpet. Spike moves the grass carpet up (revealing the gray cement floor) right before he slays the last vampire.
  • As soon as Xander walks over to the weapons chest and says "...we're going to need these," when he reaches in the chest, a crew member and part of the equipment are visible in the right of the screen. When Xander says "yeah so we should look..." the camera pans out and a brown/black box appears 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[]

  • Armenian: "Ներխուժում" (Invasion)
  • Czech: "Zákrok" (Intervention)
  • Finnish: "Sekaantuminen" (Intervention)
  • French: "La Quête" (The Quest)
  • German: "Der Zorn der Göttin" (The Wrath of the Goddess)
  • Hungarian: "A Beavatkozás" (The Intervention)
  • Italian: "Pronto Intervento" (Prompt Intervention)
  • Japanese: "仲裁" (Mediation)
  • Polish: "Interwencja" (Intervenção)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "A Intervenção" (The Intervention)
  • Romanian: "Intervenția" (Intervention)
  • Russian: "Вторжение" (Invasion)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Intervención" (Intervention)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Intervención" (Intervention)



Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



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."
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."
Buffy: "And that's what it's all about."
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?"
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. What you did, for me and Dawn, that was real. I won't forget it.


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2001.
  2. NickBrendon.com. Archived from the original on July 22, 2001.
  3. Lila Shapiro, "The Undoing of Joss Whedon." Vulture, January 17, 2022.
  4. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Fifth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 8, 2008.