Weight of the World

Written by Douglas Petrie
Directed by David Solomon

Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

When Slayers Collapse -- next, on the WB.

Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Giles got impaled, Ben turned into Glory in front of everyone, Glory killed all present Knights of Byzantium and kidnapped Dawn, leaving the Slayer kneeling, shocked and silent, in the middle of chaos.

As Glory's minions scuttle around packing up all of Her Acquisitiveness' belongings, Glory herself is busy getting fitted for ceremonial robes, and trying to deal with the fact that she doesn't feel like killing everyone in sight. It's a new experience for her, and she doesn't like it. She does like the prospect of the upcoming ritual, which will restore her very own Hell to her, but something still feels... off. A gagged and bound Dawn has nothing to offer but frightened tears. Meanwhile, back at the Last Stand Gas Station, the Slayerettes prepare to head back to Sunnydale to try to rescue Dawn. Spike hotwires Ben's car for transportation and Anya is looking after the injured-but-functioning Giles, but Buffy is still completely non-responsive (the word you're looking for is catatonic).

"After all that Buffy's been through," Giles thinks out loud, "This has just pushed her too far, into some sort of catatonia." Thanks for the update, Giles. Willow's pleas and Spike's, ah, rougher methods, are equally ineffective at pulling Buffy back to the real world from wherever she's gone. Mostly, Spike succeeds in getting into a shoving match with Xander, which pushes Willow over an edge of her own. "Separate," she intones, eyes black, and the two fly apart, which succeeds in getting everyone's attention. "Buffy's out. Glory has Dawn. Sometime real soon she's gonna use Dawn to tear down the barriers between every dimension there is. So if you two want to fight, you do it after the world ends. Okay?" Well, if you put it like that... Willow lays down the plan -- they head back to Sunnydale, Xander takes Giles to the hospital, Anya has Tara watch, and Spike's going on a Glory hunt. "Try anything stupid, like payback, and I will get _very_ cranky. Everyone clear?" Oh, yeah, they're clear.

"Ah, Will?" Spike asks. "Don't turn me into a horned toad for asking, but what if we come across Ben?" Willow looks at him, confused: "I don't think a doctor is what Buffy needs right now." Spike laughs. "Well, yeah, especially not one who happens to be Glory." He gets a room full of absolutely blank stares; no one has any clue what the hell he's talking about. It seems only Spike remembers Ben's transformation into Glory. Spike laughs again in frustration. "Very crafty. Glory's worked the kind of mojo where anyone who sees her little presto-chango instantly forgets." He figures he's immune because he's not human. This all sounds good, and the Slayerettes grasp it for about ten seconds, before we return to, "Now, do we suspect there may be some kind of connection between Ben and Glory?" Spike sighs heavily, and resigns himself to being Repeat Exposition Boy for the rest of the episode.

Glory, minions and Dawn make quite the little parade as they move to new quarters. One of the minions begins 'anointing' Dawn; Glory has a snit fit and kicks them all out, then settles down for a heart to heart with Dawn. "I want to go home," the girl sniffles. "Oh, sweetie... you're about to. Not that fake home the monks cooked up for you, but your real home." Glory does an interesting display touchy-feely caring about 'Dawnie's' comfort; seems she's feeling something uncomfortable, like... "Guilty," Dawn supplies. "Yeah! But I'm not supposed to feel guilty. I'm a god. I'm above it." She accuses Dawn of enchanting her, then dismisses the whole feelings, grabbing her minions to begin the anointing process. "Your blood is the key to the Key," Glory informs Dawn, as the minions begin their work. "I bleed you dry, and I can go home! So knock yourself out, girlfriend. Make me feel as bad as you can. 'Cause tomorrow, you bleed, little girl. "

Back at Xander's apartment, Willow prepares for a spell as Anya kibitzes, pointing out that this spell could be dangerous for both Willow and Buffy. But she promises to look after Tara while Willow is busy, and wishes the other girl luck. Willow kisses Tara, then moves into the bedroom. She lights candles, and settles onto the bed facing her catatonic best friend. With a flash, she's standing in an unfamiliar house, moving carefully through the rooms. She finds a little girl playing in one of them. "Hello, Willow," the ponytailed munchkin greets her. Willow smiles. "Hello, Buffy."

Spike announces his arrival at Glory's condo by kicking in the door, to find it completely abandoned. The only thing he finds is a small room, way in back, furnished with the bare minimum in comforts -- Ben's room.

"What are you doing here?" the little girl asks Willow. "Looking for you," Willow answers. "We need you; you have to come out." Little Buffy isn't interested in anything except the appearance of her parents -- bearing her new baby sister, Dawn. But she's torn between the coolness of a baby sister, and wanting to stay the baby herself. "You're gonna pay more attention to her and forget all about me!" Her parents reassure her, and she holds Dawn for the first time. "I could be the one to take care of her sometimes," she declares, and Joyce smiles. "Yes, Buffy, you can take care of her." Willow looks around and she's suddenly in the magic shop, watching grown-up Buffy, dressed in light brown, walk across the room to replace a book a shelf. She pauses, then walks back past Willow, unseeing, and Willow is standing in front of a bonfire. "Ooo-kay."

Xander escorts a mobile Giles out of the hospital, breaking the news about Willow's attempt to use a spell on Buffy, and the migration of all of the hospital's mental patients. Spike arrives to tell them Glory is gone, and volunteers to go talk to someone he knows: "All tuned into the nastier corners of this, our magic world." Giles will take anything right now, so Spike and Xander head off together. As they go, Spike tells Xander about finding Ben's stuff at Glory's. When Xander has the now-familiar, "Huh?" reaction, Spike rolls his eyes, mutters , "This is gonna be worth it," and dope-smacks Xander. They both shout in pain, and Spike picks it up from the top. Spike might feel better, but Glory is huddled in a corner, dealing with some unfamiliar territory. The human part of Ben is beginning to seep through into Glory -- his memories, this thoughts, his emotions. She gets even more wigged when Dawn can remember seeing her change from Ben to Glory, and begs her head priest minion to get Ben out of her -- as she gets worked up, Ben suddenly appears just long enough to tell her, "You can't kill the girl," before she wrests control back, and collapses. The priest tells her he can't do anything; this is the price for trying to open the portal.

Willow finds herself in front of the First Slayer, eavesdropping on the "Death is your gift," part of Buffy's spirit quest. Then she's back watching Buffy shelve that book, pause, and turn away. In the next blink, she's following Buffy, now dressed in black, down the upstairs hall of the Summers house.

And Glory's got her hand around Dawn's throat, as her minions try to remind her that killing the Key is a Bad Idea. They succeed, and Glory releases the target of her frustration, then kicks the minions back out. "How do they do it?" she asks; how do people deal with all the emotions and hormones and crap of being humans? "'Cuz I look around at this world you're so eager to be a part of, and all I see is six billion lunatics looking for the fastest train out. Who's not crazy? Look around: everyone's drinking, smoking, shooting up... shooting each other... or just plain screwing their brains out 'cause they don't want 'em anymore. I'm crazy? Honey, I'm the original one-eyed chicklet in the Kingdom of the Blind. 'Cuz at least I admit the world makes me nuts." She dares Dawn to name one person who can take it, and Dawn replies, "Buffy."

Ah, no. Buffy is still comprehensively not dealing. Willow trails the black-clad Slayer through the halls into Joyce's room, where the bed had been replaced by Joyce's fresh grave. "I'm sorry," she whispers. Buffy shrugs: "Don't be. Death is my gift." Which still means nothing to Willow; she continues to trail after the Slayer back into the hall. "It's what I do," Buffy says casually, sitting on Dawn's bed next to her sister. "It's all I know." And she equally casually picks up a pillow and smothers Dawn with it. Willow watches in horror, shouting. "What?" Buffy asks. "I keep telling you, I figured it out. Death is my gift."

Glory strides across the room, still in the middle of her rant, and suddenly she's Ben. Dawn tries to ask him for help, but he's having a little problem of his own -- Glory's memories are bleeding into him, too, and he can remember the massacre of the Knights. "Oh, god, she slaughtered hundreds of men. I can feel them... breaking..." As Dawn tries to get through to him, Ben abruptly does a 180 back to Glory-type "Me, me, me!" ing, then equally abruptly reverts back to Good Guy. He knocks out a minion, and leads Dawn out the door at a run.

Willow finds her self back at the beginning of the cycle, the little blonde girl waiting for her parents. They go through the same routine as before, right through Joyce and Hank's arrival, Beige Buffy reshelving the book, and Baby Buffy promising to take care of the baby. Spike and Xander arrive at Doc's house (remember him? Demon dude with resurrection spell?) on a mission. Xander has finally retained the information that Ben is Glory, and they ask Doc for some help figuring out where Glory would take Dawn. Doc warns them just not to deal with Glory, moving around the room and playing dumb. Spike's not having any of it. "She's got Dawn," he says simply, and Doc gets the message. He tries to send the boys on a chase to China for help there, and Spike informs him, "You're lying. I believe you're standing right in front of the very thing we need." Doc takes off his glasses and continues the cute, folksy routine for a second -- then leaps across the room and grabs a sword. He knocks Spike flat, and shoves Xander against the wall with a tongue-swipe worthy of D'Argo. (Farscape reference. And if you're not watching Farscape, why the hezmana not?!?) "Idiot," he hisses, throwing a small trunk into the fire. "You think only underworld bottom-feeders worship the Beast?" Apparently not. Doc is deeply into the whole Glory thing, but he spends little too much time talking about it, and not enough time paying attention. Xander manages to tackle him, driving the sword through his heart as Spike suicidally sticks his hand into the fireplace and retrieves the box. They head out, leaving Doc impaled on the floor, lifeless. Until his eyes open.

Willow is getting tired of following Black Buffy around, and finally ties to interfere, telling her to stop killing Dawn. "This never happened, you never killed your sister!" Dream Buffy doesn't believe her. Ben and Dawn stride down the street together, constantly checking their backs for the minions. They duck into an alley and Ben sticks his head out to check for pursuit. As he turns back, Dawn crashes a handful of heavy chains over his head, and he goes down. "I'm sorry," she apologizes, starting to run, but it's Glory who stands up. And she's not happy.

"You hit Ben in his soft human head, and I remember the pain," the hell god complains, slamming Dawn against a wall. "I know a lot of ways to hurt you that won't spill a drop [of blood]." She advances on the girl, but before she can do anything, she transforms back into Ben, who's still up for defending Dawn. The pair spend the next five minutes in a tag-team body-switching argument (and a virtuoso display of editing), Ben trying to keep Glory off of Dawn, Glory trying to talk him into giving in to the inevitable. It gets weirder when Ben's tactics suddenly switch to the very Glory-like idea of killing Dawn early, and Glory finds herself defending Dawn. Glory pulls a change of tactics herself, able to feel Ben's emotions. "You're scared; you don't want to die," she says soothingly. "I understand. Nobody has to die here, Ben. Just let me bleed the girl and go home; everything will work out fine." Ben points out that when she goes home, he ceases to exist; she promises that with her restored powers, she'll keep him alive. Immortal. He believes Glory, but refuses to kill Dawn for any prize, even that one; he wouldn't be able to live with it. She smiles smugly and tells him he won't care when he's a god; the emotions will go away. Then she tells him he gets to choose between his life, and Dawn's. Ben finally stumbles across to Dawn, holding out his hand to help her up. "I'm sorry," he says. Then he yanks the girl to her feet, dragging her out of the alley and back to the minions. "I'm sorry, I got no choice. It's you or me."

It's time to smother Dawn again, and Willow is still against the whole idea. And she and Beige Buffy and Black Buffy are all standing in front of the bookshelf in the magic shop. This is important, both Buffys finally take turns admitting. 'This was when I quit, Will. Just for a second. I was in the magic shop, I put a book back for Giles. Nothing special about it. And then it hit me. 'I can't beat Glory. Glory's going to win.'" Willow objects to that, but the Buffys brush her off. "I didn't just know it; I felt it. Glory will beat me. And in that one second of knowing, Will -- I wanted it to happen. I wanted it over." They're both very quiet now, resigned. "If Glory wins, then Dawn dies, and I'll grieve. People will feel sorry for me.. and it will be over. I imagines what a relief it would be." Beige Buffy puts the book back on the shelf, pauses, and Black Buffy says, with utter certainty, "I killed Dawn."

She's convinced thinking it made it happen; that she could have done something to stop Glory, but didn't because she wanted it to be over. Willow thinks about that. "I think Spike was right back at the gas station," she says finally. "Snap out of it!" That gets the Buffys attention. It's guilt, Willow tells them, and they don't deserve to feel this horrible for wanting the weight of the world to go away for one second. "Hello! Your sister's not dead yet! But she will be if you stayed locked inside here, and never come back to us."

"What if I can't?" Black Buffy asks.

"Then I guess you're right. You did kill your sister." With that, Willow turns and walks out. "Are you coming?" The two Buffys think....

And Buffy shakes herself, coming upright in the chair in Xander's bedroom. She and Willow stare at each other, then Buffy begins sobbing. Willow hugs her friends tightly.

The Slayerettes are relieved to see Willow ad Buffy come into the magic shop, awake and functional once again. Buffy's raring to go, and the gang finally has information for her; that box Spike and Xander recovered has some interesting facts about Glory and the ritual. It's possible for Glory to be stopped, but that's the only good news. "Glory plans to open a dimensional portal by way of a ritual of bloodletting." Once the blood is shed, the universes collide and chaos reins. The portal will only close when the blood is stopped, and the only way is..." It takes Giles a very long time to finish his sentence. "Buffy, the only way is to kill Dawn."

Review Coming Soon


"As for Buffy... I still find it improbable that her psyche has that kind of fault line in it, that she would just shut down from guilt and grief; but she has been through a lot lately, lost a lot of people, and if that's what happened... then I guess it's not *too* illogical. It was nice to see Kristine again, and baby Buffy was a sweetheart (but not as brunette as the baby Buffy from Killed by Death. Hmph. Continuity, people)." -- Chris

"Loved, loved, oh how I loved, Spike and Xander off doing the Abbot & Costello Save the Day riff. *Especially* Spike hitting Xander and getting a staggering migraine! *snerf*" -- Chris

"And Ben... < sigh > It's not a total surprise. But I'm hoping he changes his mind again before the very very end happens... he's lost Innocent status by going along with Glory, which is the only way out of the impasse, so, if a sacrifice has got to happen, I know which way to vote." -- Chris

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