"Intervention" is the eighteenth episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the ninety-sixth episode altogether. Written by Jane Espenson and directed by Michael Gershman, it originally broadcast on April 24, 2001 on The WB.
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.
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 call upon a guide. A mountain lion appears and directs Buffy into the desert, which she recalls from her dream.
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 robot from Warren, who quickly leaves town. 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 in patrolling in Restfield Cemetery 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 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 Spike and Buffy, and they conclude that Spike is the Key, and they rush back to tell Glory.
At Xander's apartment, the Scoobies are horrified and disturbed by Buffy's behavior, and 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 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. She decides to torture the information out of him.
Buffy wakes to find her guide in the form of Sineya 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. When Buffy asks "What gift?", the Guide 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 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 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 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 that it's a robot that was likely built by Warren. 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. Although, 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 pulls back as he suddenly realizes it is the real Buffy pretending to be the Buffybot. Buffy makes it clear that the robot was disgusting, but tells him 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's 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 episode "Blood Ties".
- Xander says Buffy's supposed attraction to Spike is "understandable". In different circumstances, Xander will react with disappointment when he discover 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.
- Angel (Only mentioned)
- April (Only mentioned)
- Riley Finn (Only mentioned)
- Rupert Giles
- The Guide
- Alexander Harris
- Anya Jenkins
- Mrs. Maclay (Only mentioned)
- Tara Maclay
- Warren Mears
- Willow Rosenberg
- Sineya (Only in visions)
- Spawn of Sobek (Only mentioned)
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Joyce Summers (Only mentioned)
Organizations and titles
Weapons and objects
Rituals and spells
- One vampire, staked by Anya.
- One vampire, staked by the Buffybot.
- One vampire, staked by Spike.
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"). 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. This pronunciation is present as well 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 couple of scenes.
Pop culture references
- Dawn reads the teen magazine Twist.
- Willow and Tara watches The History Channel, while Tara suggests they change to Discovery Channel.
- Xander calls Glory's minions "hobbits with leprosy", a reference to the fictional race.
- Spike tries to convince Glory that the Key is Bob Barker of The Price Is Right fame.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, 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.
- 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)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "Intervenção" (Intervention)
- Romanian: "Intervenția" (Intervention)
- Russian: "Вторжение" (Invasion)
- Spanish (Latin America and Spain): "Intervención" (Intervention)
- Thomas Wanker — original score
- Two Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figures were made based on Buffybot and Dawn in this episode.
|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." (Performs the ritual)|
|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." (turns to go, but stops) "What you did for me and Dawn, that was real. I won't forget it.|