Episode Title: Spiral
Original Air Date: May 8st 2001
“Overwhelming?’ How much more than ‘whelming’ would that be, exactly?” – Anya
So last episode we ended on something of a cliffhanger as Glory tore the wall off Willows dorm room wall after brain draining Tara mistaking her for the Key. Of course Tara now in her brain-drained state can see who exactly is the Key and revealed to Glory that Dawn was the Key she’s been desperately seeking.
Despite the episode being setup like it was leading into the finale what we get instead is something of a prolonged chase as Buffy and the Scoobies hop aboard their sun proof R.V. and head out on the road though were they are heading to isn’t overly clear with the main priority being to just get out of Sunnydale especially with Glory knowing the truth about Dawn.
Its an odd episode to say the least and feels in many ways like the writers found themselves with an extra episode to fill and here decided to use it to clear up a few of the loose plot threads inbetween gratuitious scenes of action as Buffy gets to battle the Knights of Byzantium who randomly know how to find the group as they pursue them on horseback, giving what could almost be seen as the medieval version of “Mad Max”.
Watching Buffy battle knights ontop of a moving R.V. is certainly one of the cooler moments of the series even if it looks downright random. I mean how did anyone not notice a group of medieval knights charging about on horseback and in broad daylight no less? Sadly this is something which is bafflingly never addressed much like why outside of Sunnydale looks like Nevada? Would anyone have thought of Sunnydale as a desert town or is this the writers just keeping the show in budget?
The Knights of Byzantium have really been an afterthought in their handful of apperences throughout the season mainly showing up to battle with Glory’s followers so seeing how we can assume by the massacre they suffer at Glory’s hands at the end of this episode that this is their last appearance its kind of a shame that this would be the episode they finally showed some potential from the siege of the R.V. through to them wheeling out a pair of mystical priests to remove Willow’s magical barrier spell you get the feeling that they could have with alittle more development really been something interesting than the throwaway presence they mainly were this season.
On the plus side we finally get to discover why Glory is so keen to find the Key which it is revealed she needs to return to own dimension after being cast out when her followers began to fear her. The issue however comes with the fact that the Key doesn’t just open the inter-dimensional door to her world, but instead causes all the worlds to meld together essentially bringing about the apocalypse for all life in the universe. Glory as to be expected though is still fantastic throughout the episode even through her appearance was sadly a little too brief, but hey we do get to see her get hit by a truck which is pretty amusing even though it could have benefited from not being so telegraphed.
Equally on form is Anya whose ideas about using cartoon logic to fight Glory and seeing how generally useless the group come off this week she atleast brings something to the episode by providing a few humorous barbs to what is such a middle of the road episode and one which is only stopped from being rated lower by its final payoff of giving us an emotionally broken Buffy having to deal with the fact that despite her best efforts she has still lost Dawn to Glory.
Next Episode: The Weight of the World