Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Shadow

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Season 5, Episode 8
Airdate November 21, 2000
Production Number 5ABB08
Written by David Fury
Directed by Daniel Attias
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Listening to Fear
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Five

Shadow is the eighth episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the eighty-sixth episode overall, and heightens the treat of Joyce's mysterious illness. Meanwhile, Riley and Buffy grow further apart as he feels less and less in the loop and Glory attempts to find the key by conjuring a cobra creature.

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

and Anthony Stewart Head (Giles)

Guest Starring: Clare Kramer (Glory), Charlie Weber (Ben), Kevin Weisman (Dreg), William Forward (Dr. Isaacs), Amber Benson (Tara)

and Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers)

Co-Starring: Megan Gray (Sandy)


Plot Overview

Joyce is found to have more a serious medical issue than previously thought. Emotionally swallowed by the fear and worry about what this means, Buffy further puts Riley on the outside.

Glory, meanwhile, sets out to recover her Key. To do this, she must gather ingredients to perform a spell, and only one place in town has what she needs.


Monster of the Week

  • Cobra Creature: The cobra demon was transmogrified from a normal cobra and crafted into a giant, deadly monster by Glory in order to find the Key. The reason for this is that the Key can only be truly seen by someone of an altered state of mind (i.e. the mentally ill) or creatures like snakes.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Sandy Riley Staked Vampire Brothel
2 Snake Creature Buffy Choked Outside Glory's Home

Arc Advancement



  • Joyce: Joyce's brain tumor is revealed in this episode.


  • Graduation Day: At the end of the third season, the Mayor attempted to ascend into Godhood through a series of rituals performed at Sunnyvale High's graduation.


The Show

  • MacGuyverism: The stake that Riley uses to slay Sandy wasn't actually a stake but a wooden switchblade.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

  • Captain America: Captain America is a Marvel Comics character created in 1941 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. His original form was lost to obscurity after World War 2 ended and the patriotism that he was meant to inspire was no longer crucial. In the 1960s, however, he was revived in his current form, an man from a different era attempting to cope with modern times.
Xander: Captain America blowed it up real good!
  • Aleister Crowley: Aleister Crowley was a mystic and sexual revolutionary who was well renowned for his allegedly Satanic lifestyle and his philosophies on mysticism and sex magick. The album referenced in the episode does not actually exist, but Crowley can be heard singing on a bootleg called "The Great Beast Speaks."
Giles: Aleister Crowley Sings? Um no, but we do have some rather nice whale sounds.

Memorable Moments

  • Glory coming into the Magic Store and buying materials without anyone knowing who she is.
  • Buffy chasing down the snake creature and choking it ala Leia in Return of the Jedi.


  • Tara: "Your one-stop spot to shop for all your occult needs." Catchy.
Giles: Think so?
Tara: Uh-huh, in a... hard to read sort of way, but I think it's great.
  • Xander: I'm just saying, I think it's rude.
Willow: I wouldn't call it rude.
Xander: Rude-ish. Rude-esque. Whatever you want to call it. When a person makes a "destroy all vampires" date, it's simple courtesy to wait for your co-destroyers. Am I right, Giles?
Giles: I'm almost certain you're not, but to be fair, I wasn't listening.
  • Anya: I mean, I for one didn't want to start my day with a slaughter. Which really just goes to show how much I've grown!
  • Spike: Okay, how about this one. Twice in recent memory, she's had the lover-wiccas do a de-invite on the house. Keep out specific vamps. Ever ask yourself why she's never taken my name off the guest list?
Riley: Because you're harmless.
Spike: Oh, yeah, right. Takes one to know, I suppose. At least I still got the attitude. What do you got, a piercing glance? Face it, white bread. Buffy's got a type, and you're not it. She likes us dangerous, rough, occasionally bumpy in the forehead region. Not that she doesn't like you, but sorry, Charlie, you're just not dark enough.
  • Willow: It feels like we're going around in circles.
Xander: Our circles are going around in circles. We've got dizzy circles here, Giles.
  • Tara: Something old. So old it pre-dates the written word.
Willow: Giles, the Dagon sphere. You said that was created to repel...
Giles: That which cannot be named.
Willow: So I'm thinking maybe she...
Giles: Predates language itself?
  • Anya: Hey. Hey! Hey! Hey!
Giles: Anya, your "heys" are startling the customers.
Xander: And pretty much the state.
  • Anya: Are you stupid or something?
Giles: Allow me to answer that question with a firing.
Xander: She's kidding! An, we talked about the employee/employer vocabulary no-nos. That was number five.
  • Buffy: How did she get away with this bad mojo stuff?
Anya: Giles sold it to her.
Giles: I - I - I didn't know it was her! I mean, how could I? If it's any consolation, I may have overcharged her.