Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Spiral

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Season 5, Episode 20
Airdate May 8, 2001
Production Number 5ABB20
Written by Steven S. DeKnight
Directed by James A. Contner
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Tough Love
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The Weight of the World
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Five

Spiral is the twentieth episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the ninety-eighth episode overall, and brings the gang to the conclusion that there's no way that they can fight Glory. Instead of fighting, they flee through the desert. During their escape, they find themselves cornered by knights in a showdown.

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), Wade Andrew Williams (General Gregor), Karim Prince (Dante), Amber Benson (Tara)

Co-Starring: Justin Gorence (Orlando), Lily Knight (Gronx), Todd Duffey (Murk), Jack Donner (Cleric #1), Bob Morrisey (Crazy #1), Paul Bates (Crazy #2), Carl J. Johnson (Crazy #3), Mary Sheldon (Nurse)


Plot Overview

Now that Glory knows that Dawn is the Key, and realising that she is unstoppable, Buffy decides to simply flee. Their escape plan is sidetracked when the Knights of Byzantium catch up to them and trap them with diminishing options.


Monster of the Week

  • There is no monster of the week as this episode continues the Glory plot uninterrupted.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Knight Buffy Stabbed with an Axe On Top of the RV
2 Orlando Dante Impaled Outside the Gas Station
3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 Knights Buffy Thrown from Camper & Various The RV
11 General Gregor Glory Stabbed by a Hubcap Gas Station
Countless Knights Glory Various Outside the Gas Station

Arc Advancement


  • Ben & Glory: Ben only exists because of Glory's failure. He would cease to exist if Glory found and used to key. Ben transforms into Glory in front of the gang, but it doesn't register.
  • Glory: She is generally referred to as "The Beast", and rules the demon dimension with two other demons. She grew in power to cause the other two to fear her. The two banished her to the mortal dimension where she would remain trapped in the body of a newborn male. His death would mean the death of the god.
  • The Knights: The knights return in this episode, they release Orlando from the mental ward at the hospital and set out to retrieve and destroy the key. It is revealed that the knights have been searching for the key for countless generations in order to destroy it before it can be used.
  • The Key: The key was created to open the gates of the other dimensions, Glory wants to find the key in order to return to her banished dimension and take over. The activation of key would mean the opening of all dimensions, realities bleed into one another and creating chaos in the universe.


  • Giles: Giles is stabbed with a spear to the abdomen while driving the RV away from the knights.


  • Innocence (2): Buffy used a rocket launcher stolen from the military armory to kill the Judge.


The Show

Behind the Scenes

  • Stunt Xander: Kelly Donovan, Nicholas Brendon's twin, is credited in this episode because Nicholas fell ill during the shoot with several scenes to go. Kelly stood in for him in some of those scenes.

Allusions and References

  • Bugs Bunny: Bugs Bunny was created in 1940 by the efforts of Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Robert McKimson, Chuck Jones, and Friz Freleng. His known rivalry with Elmer Fudd (the other character mentioned in Anya's statement) results in Elmer Fudd being cartoonishly crushed by pianos and various other things.
Anya: We should drop a piano on her. Well, it always works for that creepy cartoon rabbit when he's running from that nice man with the speech impediment.
  • Wile E. Coyote: Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner were created in 1949 by Chuck Jones as a parody of the cat and mouse cartoons which had become increasingly popular (like Tom and Jerry). The gimmick of the show is that Wile E. Coyote uses technology to attempt to capture the Roadrunner, but he never quite makes it. One of the gags most often used was the coyote painting a tunnel on the side of a mountain, hoping that the Roadrunner would smash into it, but instead he would run right through it. When the Coyote gave chase, he would smack right into the wall.
Giles: Yes, or perhaps we could paint a convincing tunnel on the side of a mountain.
  • Sgt. Rock: Sgt. Rock is one of the most prominent and popular war comic characters of all time. He debuted on DC Comics in the 1950s as a central character of Our Army at War until the book's name was changed to Sgt. Rock when his popularity became evident. He was most often seen commanding a unit of men known as Easy Company, but unlike many war characters he was vehemently anti-war. Despite his loathing for war, he remained uncompromisingly loyal to his unit. He was most recently the subject of a graphic novel on Vertigo Comics by Bill Willingham and Joe Kubert.
Xander: Hey, we gotta be like Sergeant Rock. Cool and collected in the face of overwhelming odds.

Memorable Moments

  • Buffy's battle with the knights atop the camper as Giles drives down the road.
  • The conversation with General Gregor about the true nature of the key.
  • Ben turning into Glory and escaping with Dawn.


  • When the female of Glory's minions casts the runes, the sleeves of her robes are rolled up. From this, you can see that the scab makeup only covers her hands.
  • When the arrow shoots through the wall to interrupt Buffy and Dawn's heart-to-heart talk, you can see a marking of some kind in the wall in the exact point through which the arrow pierces before it actually does. There is another such mark when one strikes near Tara before she is pulled away from the window.


  • Anya: Piano!
Xander: Because that's what we used to kill that big demon that one time. No, wait. That was a rocket launcher. Ahn, what are you talkin' about?
Anya: We should drop a piano on her. Well, it always works for that creepy cartoon rabbit when he's running from that nice man with the speech impediment.
Giles: Yes, or perhaps we could paint a convincing tunnel on the side of a mountain. Let's just keep thinking, everyone.
  • Giles: (seeing Spike) What's he doing here?
Spike: Just out for a jaunt. Thought I'd swing by and say howdy.
Giles: Out.
Buffy: He's here because we need him.
Xander: The hell we do.
Buffy: If Glory finds us, he's the only one besides me that has any chance of protecting Dawn.
Xander: Buffy, come on.
Buffy: Look, this isn't a discussion! He stays. Get over it.
  • Spike: Buckle up, kids. Daddy's puttin' the hammer down.
  • Anya: Shouldn't somebody be asking, "are we're there yet?" Isn't that what small, irritating children do?
Dawn: That kinda only works if you know where you're going.
Anya: Do we know where we're going yet?
  • Spike: Hey, gramps, bloody step on it.
Giles: Step on what? I've driven tricycles with more power.
  • Xander: Is anybody else queasy?
Anya: He doesn't travel well. He's like fine shrimp.
  • Xander: Would you give it a rest or --
Spike: Or what, you're gonna toss your cookies on my shoes?
Xander: Or you're going to be Undead Man Walking. See how fast you can hitch a ride with a flaming thumb.
  • Dawn: Thanks.
Buffy: For what?
Dawn: You know. Pretty much everything.
Buffy: Yeah. I'm doing a great job.
Dawn: You are.
Buffy: I'm the Slayer. The Chosen One. All mythic and defendery. Evil nasties are supposed to flee from me. Not the other way around.
Dawn: You're not fleeing. You're... moving at a brisk pace.
Buffy: Quaintly referred to in some cultures as the Big Scaredy Run Away.
  • Buffy: It just keeps coming. Glory, Riley, Tara, Mom.
Dawn: I know, but there's a bright side.
Buffy: There is?
Dawn: At least things can't get any crazier, right?
(an arrow shoots through the wall)
Buffy: You know this is your fault for saying that.
  • Giles: Weapons?
Spike: Hello! You're driving one!
Willow: Don't hit the horsies!
Buffy: We won't. (to Giles) Aim for the horsies.
  • Dawn: Keep the pressure on.
Spike: Always do, sweet bit.
  • Xander: I mention today how much I don't like you?
Spike: Might have let it slipped it in... once or twice.
  • Gregor: The Key... is almost as old as the beast itself. Where it came from, how it was created... the deepest of mysteries. All that is certain is that its power is absolute. Countless generations of my people have sacrificed their lives in search of it, to destroy it before its wrath could be unleashed.
Dawn: But the monks found it first.
Gregor: Yes, and hid it with their magicks.
Buffy: Why didn't they just destroy it? If the Key is as dangerous as--
Gregor: Because they were fools. They thought they could harness its power for the forces of light. They failed and paid with their blood.
Dawn: What do I do? What was I created for?
Gregor: You were created... to open the gates that separate dimensions. The Beast will use your power to return home and seize control of the Hell she was banished from.
Buffy: (laughs) That's it? That's Glory's master plan, to go home?
Gregor: You misunderstand. Once the Key is activated, it won't just open the gates to the Beast's dimension. It's going to open all the gates. The walls separating realities will crumble. Dimensions will bleed into each other. Order will be overthrown and the universe will tumble into chaos... all dark... forever. That is what you were created for.