"No Place Like Home" is the fifth episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is the eighty-third episode altogether. Written by Douglas Petrie and directed by David Solomon, it originally broadcast on October 24, 2000 on The WB.
ALL IN THE FAMILY — An unseen evil comes to Sunnydale that that helps Buffy discover more about her little sister Dawn and the girls are distressed and confused when their mom suddenly becomes ill without any clear explanation, medical or supernatural.
Two months ago, several monks rush to perform a ritual while a powerful force of some sort threatens their lives. In the present, Buffy stakes a vampire outside an abandoned building, and then gets caught by the night watchman, who thinks she's a teen looking for a rave. As she turns to leave, he tells her not to forget her glow-ball, an orb which Buffy doesn't recognize but takes to investigate.
Buffy makes breakfast for her mom, who is still suffering from headaches that the doctors can't explain. Dawn takes credit for the breakfast, telling Joyce that Buffy only helped. Joyce and Dawn bond (Joyce calling Dawn her "little punkin' belly"), which leaves Buffy feeling like an outsider. Giles' big opening is less than successful at first, but eventually, the Magic Box gets to be so popular that he can't handle it all on his own. Buffy presents the orb to Giles, who can't explain it right away.
While picking up a prescription for her mother at the hospital, Buffy encounters the night watchman again as he's being strapped down to a gurney. He's less than stable, but he manages to warn Buffy that she will be attacked through her family.
A monk works on a blueprint in an empty building just as the Beast smashes through a large steel door, revealing itself to be a blond female. The Beast tries to torture information about the Key out of the monk, but he won't tell her anything. She starts to speak crazily until she puts her fingers to the head of a security guard and seems to suck the life force from him.
Buffy assumes that the danger she was warned about is what is causing her mother's headaches. Anya recommends to Buffy that she perform Tirer la Couverture, a ritual to reveal any spells that may be affecting her family. Buffy, eager to help Riley feel needed, offers to let him help her with the spell. He realizes what she's doing; then they talk and agree to take care of each other.
Buffy performs the ritual in her bedroom, then walks around her house to look for anything unusual. She runs into Joyce, and finds nothing strange about her which proves that the headaches are not being caused by supernatural means. However Buffy does see something unusual: Dawn's image flashes in and out of pictures around the house. When she enters Dawn's room, Buffy sees Dawn's possessions, bed, desk, and decorations also fading in and out, as well as Dawn herself. Buffy confronts Dawn about it, and she concludes that Dawn isn't her sister. Buffy physically attacks and threatens Dawn, telling her to stay away from their mother, but Dawn appears truly confused and doesn't understand Buffy's sudden change in attitude.
Giles calls to tell Buffy about the orb, a Dagon Sphere, and its purpose of protection from an unnamed evil (warning her that things that are unnamed are usually very dangerous). Buffy returns to the abandoned building in hopes of finding more information. Buffy encounters Spike lurking outside her home and demands to know what he was doing there. She is unsatisfied with his explanation, but lets him off with a warning, and he becomes frustrated. Looking down, Buffy notices a bunch of Spike's discarded cigarette butts; he must have been loitering there for quite some time. Shaking her head, she proceeds to return to the warehouse as Dawn watches the whole exchange from the window.
Buffy comes up against the Beast, who quickly proves to be far too powerful for the Slayer to handle. After taking quite a beating, Buffy is able to escape with the monk. The Beast throws a tantrum, causing the room to collapse on her, which delays her pursuit. Back at the Magic Box, Giles offers Anya a job when he realizes that the job is too much for just one, and that she enjoys handling the money.
In his last moments of life, the monk warns Buffy that she must protect the Key. He tells her that the Key is a collection of energy put into a human form — Dawn's form. They sent her to the Slayer to be protected from those looking for it. Buffy doesn't understand as she, her mom and all her friends have memories of Dawn's whole life, but the monk tells her that her memories are false. He also tells her that Dawn has no idea she is anything but human, and now not only needs the protection of the Slayer, but also the love of a sister.
The monk dies, and Buffy returns home shaken by her new knowledge to find Dawn and Joyce waiting for her. Buffy apologizes to Dawn, who eventually accepts and the two girls are able to relate on at least one subject: their concern for their mother.
- This episode begins the main story arc of the season, revealing the truth about Dawn and introducing Glory. This would also be a main plot point in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine due to the end of magic when Dawn began to fade away.
- Giles officially opens the Magic Box. While the Scooby Gang met in the library during seasons 1–3 and at Giles' apartment in Season 4, the Magic Box will be the gang's HQ until it is destroyed at the end of Season 6.
- Dawn was fading in a family photograph, emphasizing she was not real. A similar occurrence will happen when Dawn falls in a coma because of the end of magic in The Watcher.
- Anya gets her first job: as a retailer in the Magic Box.
- Giles said for someone to rip the Magic Box's bell off it's hinges since it always meant someone was coming to buy items. Ironically, Buffy would actually do this when she was stuck in a time-loop by the Trio in "Life Serial".
- This is the first episode to mention Joyce's illness, which will cause her death in "I Was Made to Love You".
- This is the first time Spike sees Buffy after he came to the realization that he loves her in "Out of My Mind". It's also the second of four occasions when she calls him "William": in "Something Blue", during their engagement; in "As You Were", when she breaks up with him; and in Disempowered, when she tells him they'll stay together ever after weeks separated.
- In Glory's rant, after interrogating the monk, she mentions "someone sits on a tuffet". Dawn has been referred to as Little Miss Muffet in the dream that Faith had while in her coma in "Graduation Day, Part Two" (Miles to go. Little Miss Muffet counting down from 7-3-0).
- Joyce refers to Dawn by her pet name, "Little pumpkin belly". Buffy never had such a name although Joyce sometimes calls her "Sleepyhead".
- The security guard will reappear in "Listening to Fear" along with the wife and two daughters he mentioned.
- Buffy tells Giles she's been practicing concentration, as seen in her training interrupted by Dawn in "Real Me".
- Cloutier (Only mentioned)
- Riley Finn
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Anya Jenkins
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Joyce Summers
- Benjamin Wilkinson
- Unidentified monk of Dagon I
- Unidentified monk of Dagon II
- Unidentified monk of Dagon III
- Unidentified nightwatchman I (No Place Like Home)
- Unidentified nightwatchman II (No Place Like Home)
Organizations and titles
- Czech Republic (Only in flashbacks)
- Sunnydale, USA
Weapons and objects
Rituals and spells
- Unidentified vampire, staked by Buffy.
- Unidentified monk, tortured by Glory.
Behind the scenes
- Czech lines spoken by monks in the beginning are "Zabije nás to" (It's going to kill us), "Na našich životech nezáleží, musíme ochránit klíč" (Our lives don't matter, we have to protect the Key), "Pomož mi s obřadem" (Help me with the ritual) and "Soustřeď se" (Concentrate). They are pronounced in a very non-Czech way, however.
- Czech lines said during the ritual are likely not said by the actors, but some a Czech speaking person, since they are pronounced correctly and understandable to Czech speakers. They are "Ochraňuj nás" (Protect us) and "A stvoř člověka" (And create a human).
- While Czech spoken by monks is correct, actors playing monks speak with strong foreign accents, making most lines not understandable to Czech speakers. Ravil Isyanov speaks with strong Russian accent, while John Sarkisian speaks with English accent.
- At the end of the episode right after Dawn storms upstairs, Joyce is reading a magazine and there is an advertisement that features Sarah Michelle Gellar in the ad.
- The original run of "No Place Like Home" attracted 6.4 million viewers, the highest rated episode of the season.
Pop culture references
- The episode's title is a reference to a verse of the song "Home! Sweet Home!" (1823).
- The vampire Buffy fights wears a shirt of German heavy metal band Accept, more specifically their album "Russian Roulette" (1986).
- While Buffy prepares breakfast for Joyce, Dawn says, "Who died and made you the Iron Chef?", in reference to the Japanese television cooking show (1993–2002).
- Buffy suggests Joyce to watch The Oprah Winfrey Show talk show (1986–2011).
- Riley refers to the training area in the back of The Magic Box as the fictional training facility Danger Room.
- After remarking about Buffy's strength, Ben asks her if the cause was "radioactive spider bite", in reference to the origins of fictional superhero Spider-Man.
- One of the books at The Magic Box is "The Collapse of British Power" (1972), by Correlli Barnett.
Goofs, bloopers, and continuity errors
- When Buffy apologized to Dawn and the camera angle switches to behind Dawn facing Buffy, you can see the boom mic bobbing in the upper left-hand corner.
- When Buffy is sent flying, there are faint traces of visible wires supporting the stunt woman against the wall in the background.
- Buffy picks up her mother's medication at the hospital. She sees Ben, and he's heard saying: "not to be rampantly sexist, but you have some serious muscles for a girl". However, his words don't match his mouth.
- At 24:14, as the camera tracks Buffy stepping back into her circle of sand, it also picks up the boom microphone in the upper left corner of the frame.
- During Buffy's brawl with Glory, Glory grabs and wrenches Buffy's arms, causing her body to descend in pain. However, in the next shot on Glory when she is talking about regenerating worms, Buffy is standing up before she head-butts Glory.
- Thomas Wanker — original score
- Armenian: "անից լավ տեղ չրկա"
- Czech: "Všude dobře, doma nejlíp" (Everywhere's Good, Home's the Best)
- Finnish: "Oma koti kullan kallis" (My Home Is Precious as Gold)
- French: "Sœurs ennemies" (Enemy Sisters)
- German: "Sein und Schein" (Reality and Illusion)
- Hungarian: "Otthon csak egy van" (Home There's Only One)
- Italian: "Casa, Dolce Casa" (Home, Sweet Home)
- Japanese: "母と姉妹の絆" (Bonds of Mother and Sister)
- Polish: "Nie ma jak w domu" (There's No Place Like Home)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "Não Há Lugar Como o Nosso Lar" (There's No Place Like Our Home)
- Romanian: "Nicăieri nu-i ca acasă" (No Place Like Home)
- Russian: "Нет места лучше дома" (No Place Like Home)
- Spanish (Latin America): "Hogar Dulce Hogar" (Home Sweet Home)
- Spanish (Spain): "No Hay Nada Como Estar en Casa" (There's Nothing Like Being Home)
- Giles dresses as a stereotypical wizard when Buffy enters the Magic Box. Anthony Stewart Head eventually played a role of one of the main characters of the series Merlin.
- Anthony Stewart Head would appear in the film Ghostrider; Spirit of Vengeance with a similar storyline, a religious cult trying to kill a child destined to be a sacrifice to fulfill an evil apocalyptic prophecy and a supernaturally empowered hero trying to stop them.
Behind the scenes
|Buffy - "What are you doing here?"|
|Spike - "Look..."|
|Buffy - "Five words or less!"|
|Spike - "Out... for... a... walk. Bitch."|
|Buffy - "Out for a walk at night by my house. No one has time for this William."|
|Spike - "On your merry way, then. You, know contrary to ones self involved world your house happens to be directly between parts...and, and other parts of this town. And I would pass by during the day, but I feel I'm outgrowing my whole "burst into flames" phase."|
|Buffy - "Fine. Keep going, I'll cut you a break."|
|Spike - "Oh, yeah. Okay, let me guess, you won't kill me? Wooo... the whole crowd-pleasing threats-and-swagger routine. Outstandingly original. I'm just passing through, satisfied. You know I really hope so, God knows you need some satisfaction in life besides shagging Captain Cardboard and I never really liked you anyway and...and you have stupid hair."|
|Vampire - "I've always wanted to kill the Slayer."|
|Buffy - "And I've always wanted piano lessons. So really... who's surprised we've got this unexpressed rage? But honestly, I think I express mine better. Tell you what... you find yourself a good anger management class, and I'll jam this pokey wood stick through your heart."|
|Buffy - "What the hell is it?"|
|Giles - "It appears to be paranormal in origin."|
|Willow - "How can you tell?"|
|Giles - "Well, it's so shiny."|
|Anya - "[to a customer who just finished her purchase] Please go."|
|Xander - "Anya, the Shopkeepers Union of America called. They wanted me to tell you that 'Please go' just got replaced with 'Have a nice day'."|
|Anya - "But I have their money. Who cares what kind of day they have?"|
|Xander - "No one. It's just a long cultural tradition of raging insincerity. Embrace it."|
|Ben - "You know, not to be rampantly sexist in the workplace, but you've got some serious muscles for a girl."|
|Buffy - "I... um..."|
|Ben - "Radioactive spider bite."|
|Buffy - "How'd you guess?"|