"The Weight of the World" is the twenty-first episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the ninety-ninth episode in the series. Written by Douglas Petrie and directed by David Solomon, it originally broadcast on May 15, 2001 on The WB network.
WILLOW GOES INTO THE MIND OF THE SLAYER TO BRING BUFFY BACK — Buffy slips into catatonia after Glory kidnaps Dawn and prepares to bring about the end of the world, so Willow uses her wicca talents to reach Buffy deep inside her innermost secrets and subconscious fears.
Glory prepares for the ritual to open the portal, talking to her minions and Dawn, who has no choice but to listen, as she's tied up and gagged. Spike reports that he can't see Glory anywhere, but the gang has a new problem as Buffy has been reduced to a state of catatonia. Spike tries to violently shake Buffy back to normal, which only leads to a fight with Xander, and Willow forces the two guys apart with magic. With Buffy and Giles out of commission, Willow takes command and lays out a plan: the Scoobies will return to Sunnydale, where Xander will take Giles to the hospital, Anya will look after Tara, and Spike will track down Glory while Willow tries to help Buffy. Spike asks what to do if they run into Ben, only for everyone to get confused and tell Spike that Buffy doesn't need a doctor at the moment. Spike tries to remind them that Ben is Glory, and transformed into her right in front of them. However, no-one is able to recall this and seem unable to grasp the idea. Spike then realizes that a spell must be in effect that protects the information that Glory and Ben share a body from humans (being a vampire, Spike is immune).
Glory first attempts to comfort a frightened Dawn, but starts to lose her cool as she realizes she's feeling guilty. Willow prepares herself for a spell that will allow her into the mind of the Slayer. Things go as planned and Willow finds herself talking to a young Buffy. Willow witnesses Buffy's memory of baby Dawn being brought home by Joyce and Hank.
At the hospital where Giles was getting care, Xander fills him in on Willow's plans. Spike returns after investigating Glory's apartment with little information on her whereabouts. Dawn reveals to Glory that she remembers the transformation from Ben. This really worries Glory as she realizes Ben is closer to the surface than before; indeed, the power that separates Ben and Glory's memories and personalities has started to dissolve, and the Scoobies gradually recall the memory of Ben transforming into Glory. She asks to have Ben taken out of her body, but it is the punishment she must face for her crime. In Buffy's mind, Willow watches Buffy shelve a book at the Magic Box, followed by Buffy's memory of the Guide telling her that "death is [her] gift."
Glory brags to Dawn about her superiority but Dawn knows there is one person who can beat the goddess: Buffy. Meanwhile, in Buffy's mind, Willow visits a 20-year-old Buffy at her house. Buffy calmly acknowledges that death is her gift, before going to Dawn's room and smothering the young girl with a pillow, much to Willow's horror. Glory finds her body taken over by Ben and after some encouragement from Dawn, Ben takes her and runs. Willow watches as scenes from earlier begin to repeat and baby Dawn is brought home again.
Spike and Xander visit Doc for information on Glory, however Xander suddenly remembers that Glory and Ben are sharing a body, signifying that the spell protecting the information is weakening. The two then notice Doc's shifty attempts to hide a small carved box, quickly find that he also worships Glory. With his super speed and long tongue, Doc has the guys at a disadvantage.
He throws the box into the fireplace and attacks. Spike is able to recover the box while Xander stabs the reptilian creature with a sword. The two leave with the box, but after they've gone, Doc's eyes open. In Buffy's mind, before Buffy can go to kill Dawn again, Willow stops her and asks her why.
A good distance away from Glory's hideout, Dawn breaks away from Ben and knocks him out with a chain, but this only allows Glory to re-emerge. Ben and Glory battle for control of the body until Glory strikes up a deal: if Ben cooperates in sacrificing Dawn, Glory will ensure that Ben will not die after the ritual is completed, and will grant him immortality and an independent existence away from her. Out of self-preservation, Ben agrees, and hands Dawn over to Glory's minions.
Willow asks Buffy what is the significance of the seemingly mundane scene of placing a book on a shelf. Buffy explains that was the exact moment when, in her heart, she gave up hope of defeating Glory. Buffy reveals to Willow that she gave up in her heart and that she thinks she is the reason Glory has Dawn and Dawn will soon die. Willow tells her that it's not over yet and she can still do something to stop it.
Buffy finally comes out of her state, crying and collapsing into Willow's arms. As they return to the magic shop, Xander tells Buffy that Ben and Glory are one and the same. After reviewing the information Spike stole from Doc, Giles reveals that a bloodletting ceremony will occur to open the portal, and once it begins there is only one way to stop it: Dawn must be killed.
- An explanation of why Dawn didn't remember Ben's transformation in "Blood Ties" is provided.
- Upon seeing the First Slayer, Willow recalled when she had tried to kill all of them in their dreams in "Restless".
- Willow again took on a leadership role when Buffy was unable to do so, as she did in "The Dark Age" and will do again in "Bargaining, Part One".
- Willow, in Buffy's mind, attends the conversation between Buffy and the Guide during "Intervention".
- Doc refers to Dawn's attempt to resurrect Joyce in "Forever".
- Rupert Giles
- Guide (Only in visions)
- Alexander Harris
- Anya Jenkins
- Tara Maclay
- Willow Rosenberg
- Sineya (Only in visions)
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Hank Summers (Only in visions)
- Joyce Summers (Only in visions)
- Benjamin Wilkinson
- High Priest Minion
- Unidentified lunatic (Real Me)
- Unidentified lunatic I (Blood Ties)
- Unidentified lunatic II (Blood Ties)
Organizations and titles
- Big Day (Only mentioned)
- Los Angeles (Only in visions)
- Summers residence (Los Angeles) (Only in visions)
Weapons and objects
- 2VL6508 (Only mentioned)
Behind the scenes
- Joel Grey is credited as a "Special Guest Star" for his appearance as Doc. He was only credited as a guest star for his appearances in "Forever" and "The Gift".
- Thomas Wanker — "Previously"
- Thomas Wanker — "Willow Takes Control"
- Thomas Wanker — "Willow Helps Buffy"
- Thomas Wanker — "Spike at Glory's"
- Thomas Wanker — "Buffy Holds Baby Dawn"
- Armenian: "Աշխարհի ծանրությունը" (The Weight of the World)
- Czech: "Tíha světa" (The Weight of the World)
- French: "Sans Espoir" (Hopeless)
- German: "Die Last der Welt" (The Weight of the World)
- Hungarian: "A világ súlya" (The Weight of the World)
- Italian: "Il Peso del Mondo" (The Weight of the World)
- Japanese: "世界の価値" (The Value of the World)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "O Peso do Mundo" (The Weight of the World)
- Russian: "Тяжесть мира" (The Weight of the World)
- Spanish (Latin American and Spain): "El Peso del Mundo" (The Weight of the World)
|Spike - "Is everyone here very stoned? Ben! Glory! He's a doctor, she's the beast. Two entirely separate entities sharing one body. Like a bloody sitcom. Surely you remember."|
|Anya - "So you're saying... Ben and Glory..."|
|Anya - "Have a connection."|
|Giles - "Yes, obviously, but what kind?"|
|Spike - "Oh, I get it. That's very crafty. Glory's worked the kind of mojo where anyone who sees her little presto-change-o instantly forgets. And yours truly, being somewhat other than human stands immune."|
|Willow - "So... Ben and Glory... are-are the same person?"|
|Anya - "Glory can turn into Ben, and Ben turns back into Glory."|
|Anya - "And anyone who sees it instantly forgets."|
|Spike - "Kewpie doll for the lady."|
|Giles - "Excellent. Now. Do we suspect there may be some kind of connection between Ben and Glory?"|
|Buffy - "This was when I quit, Wil."|
|Willow - "You did?"|
|Buffy - "Just for a second. I remember. I was in the magic shop. I put a book back for Giles. Nothing special about it. And then it hit me."|
|Willow - "What hit you?"|
|Buffy - "I can't beat Glory. Glory's going to win."|
|Willow - "You can't know that."|
|Buffy - "I didn't just know it. I felt it. Glory will beat me. And in that second of knowing it, Wil? I wanted it to happen."|
|Willow - "Why?"|
|Buffy - "I wanted it over. This is — all of this — it's too much for me. I just wanted it over. If Glory wins, then Dawn dies. And I would grieve. People would feel sorry for me. But it would be over. I imagined what a relief it would be. I killed Dawn."|
|Willow - "Is that what you think?"|
|Buffy - "My thinking it made it happen. Some part of me wanted it. And in the moment Glory took Dawn, I know I could've done something better. But I didn't. I was off by some fraction of a second. And this is why I killed my sister."|
|Willow - "I think Spike was right back at the gas station. Snap out of it!"|
|Buffy - "What?"|
|Willow - "All this? It has a name. It's called guilt. It's a feeling, and it's important. But it's not more than that, Buffy. Buffys. You've carried the weight of the world on your shoulders since high school and I know you didn't ask for this but, you do it, every day. And so you wanted out for one second. So what?"|