Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Blood Ties

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Blood Ties
Blood Ties
Season 5, Episode 13
Airdate February 6, 2001
Production Number 5ABB13
Written by Steven S. DeKnight
Directed by Michael Gershman
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Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Five

Blood Ties is the thirteenth episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the ninety-first episode overall, and is the ever ominous birthday episode. The main arc starts to hit its stride when Dawn figures out her true nature and the relationship between Ben and Glory brings about even more questions.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers), James Marsters (Spike)

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Clare Kramer (Glory), Charlie Weber (Ben), Troy T. Blendell (Jinx), Amber Benson (Tara)

and Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers)

Co-Starring: Justin Gorence (Orlando), Michael Emanuel (Burly Guard), Joe Ochman (Janitor), Paul Bates (Crazie #1), Carl J. Johnson (Crazie #2), Candice Nicole (Young Buffy), Elyssa D. Vito (Young Dawn)


Plot Overview

It's Buffy's birthday, but everyone is thinking about Dawn after Buffy hesitantly tells them about the Key. Everyone that is but Dawn herself who notices that everyone is beginning to behave odd around her now. She then sets off to find out why and discovers the truth about herself.


Monster of the Week

  • No monster of the week due to the episode being heavy in plot.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1/2/3/4 Demons Knight Stabbed The Forest
5/6/7 Knights Glory Stabbed The Forest
8 Security Guard Glory Snapped Neck Hospital Locker Room


  • Star Ghost Dog - "Holiday"

Arc Advancement


  • The Key: The gang finds out that Dawn never existed and is actually the key. Dawn also figures this fact out when she breaks into the magic store and steals the book.
  • Glory: It's revealed that Ben and Glory are connected as family. But the full extent of the relationship is not known other than that Ben can transform into Glory. However, that fact remains unknown because Dawn forgot that he transformed.


  • Dawn: This is the first time in which Dawn realizes that she's the key and not a proper human being.


  • Triangle: Spike finds the troll hammer stashed away in the magic shop.
  • Shadow: There is a brief flashback to the snake creature recognizing Dawn as the key.
  • Earshot: Joyce offers Dawn chicken and stars soup to make her feel better. She offered Buffy the same to keep her from overhearing that she and Giles had sex.


The Show

  • Diaries: The entries in Dawn's diaries are actual, real entries. One is about getting an A on an oral exam and the other is about trying to get Buffy to give her daggers and armor for protection.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

  • Teletubbies: Teletubbies is a children's television show created in 1997 by the BBC. The series was designed to teach children about speech and vocabulary and was also the center of controversy when several bored Americans decided that one of the Teletubbies was homosexual and was corrupting the youth. The series is broadcast in America on PBS.
Spike: Sneaking out to braid hair and watch Teletubbies with your mates?
  • Gentle Ben: Gentle Ben was the title character of the title character of the 1960s TV series Gentle Ben. The series was about a boy and his tamed bear, starring Clint Howard.
Glory: What I'm tryin' to noodle, is what in the world was the Slayer's little sis doin' here with Gentle Ben?"

Memorable Moments

  • Dawn mocking Spike for hiding in the bushes with a crumpled box of chocolates for Buffy's birthday.
  • Dawn standing in the background with a gash in her arm, demanding to know if she's real.
  • Ben transforming into Gloria and being teleported high above the city by Willow.


  • In the teaser, you can see a boom mic reflected in the glass case behind Buffy in several shots.


  • Willow: This is exactly what you need - a twentieth birthday party with - with presents and funny hats and - and those candles that don't blow out. Those used to scare me.
Tara: Me, too.
  • Xander: A crazy hellgod? And the fun just keeps on leavin'.
  • Buffy: Look, if - if Glory knew that you knew where it was, I -- I just didn't want to put you in that kind of danger.
Xander: As opposed to the other kind we're always in?
  • Anya: You make a very pretty little girl.
Xander: Anya, you wanna help me with that thing?
Anya: (laughs) Xander needs help with his thing!
  • Giles: I'm not sure our regular workout is challenging you anymore. Perhaps we should make it harder.
Buffy: You always think harder is better. Maybe next time I patrol, I should carry little bricks and use a stake made of butter.
  • Buffy: How was school today?
Dawn: Um, the usual. Big square building filled with boredom and despair.
Buffy: Just how I remember it.
  • Dawn: I just think you're just freaking out 'cause you have to fight someone prettier than you. That is the case, right?
Buffy: Glory is evil and powerful, and in no way prettier than me.
  • Buffy: (opening a birthday present) Oh! It's beautiful. Thank you, guys.
Tara: Well, we thought you get lots of crossbows and other killy stuff.
Willow: Yeah, so we figured less killy, more frilly.
Anya: Gotta look. (grabs the dress from Buffy) Oh, it's just so lovely! Oh, I wish it was mine! Oh, like you weren't all thinking the same thing.
Giles: I'm fairly certain I wasn't. (whispers to Xander) I've got one just like it.
  • Spike: (reading from Giles's notes) "They had to be certain the Slayer would protect it with her life. So they sent the key to her... in human form. In the form of a sister." (to Dawn) Huh. I guess that's you, nibblet.
  • Buffy: Maybe it's time for a new tradition: birthdays without boyfriends. It could be just as much fun.
Willow: Preaching to the choir here, baby.
  • Dawn: Is this blood?
Buffy: Dawn!
Joyce: Oh, baby.
Buffy: What did you do?!
Dawn: This is blood, isn't it? It can't be me. I'm not a key. I'm not a thing.
Joyce: Oh, sweetie, no. What is this all about?
Dawn: What am I? Am I real? Am I anything?
  • Xander: There's so many things I remember. Seeing Dawn, hanging with her, listening to Buffy complain about her. Mostly that last one. How could it be that all those things never really happened?
Giles: Well, it takes some getting used to, the idea of a bright fourteen-year-old actually being living energy thousands of years old.
Xander: I'm guessing some kind of super-powerful in her raw form.
Giles: People have killed, died for it, summoned armies to control the key.
Xander: You know, uh... she kinda has a crush on me.
Giles: Your point being?
Xander: Well, nothing, no. Just saying, powerful being, big energy gal digging the Xan man. Some guys are just cooler, you know?
  • Spike: She probably would have skipped off anyway, even if she never found out. She's not just a blob of energy; she's also a fourteen-year-old hormone bomb. Which one's screwing her up more right now? Spin the bloody wheel. You'll find her, just in the nick of time. That's what you hero types do. You'll find her.
  • Glory: Hey! We were just talking about you!
Buffy: Conversation's over, hellbitch.
  • Spike: (about Glory) I thought you said this skank was tough. (Glory knocks him out)
Glory: If he wakes up, tell your boyfriend to watch his mouth.
Buffy: He is not my boyfriend.
  • Dawn: Is she mad about the whole fire thing?
Buffy: I think you sort of have a "get out of jail free" card, on account of big love and trauma.
Dawn: Really? Okay. Good. You think she'd raise my allowance?
Buffy: Don't push it.