Episode Title: Weight of the World
Original Air Date: May 15th 2001
“Ben, Glory. He’s a doctor, she’s the Beast. Two entirely separate entities sharing one body. It’s like a bloody sitcom.” – Spike
After the mini on the road adventure last week we are now gearing up for the season finale which of course makes it the more frustrating that we get such a spluttering misfire of an episode which picks up from the previous episode with Glory making her final preparations to open a gateway back to her dimension now that she has finally captured Dawn. Buffy meanwhile have lost her sister and faced with the prospect that she might not be able to beat Glory has become catatonic.
Now am I alone in being frustrated by how much of a crutch for the series Willow’s magical ability is? More so when she went from being vaguely competant to suddenly becoming an all powerful witch capable of performing any spell that the plot requires. This is only further added to when we consider that she is left drained for several episodes when she teleports Glory, yet her she is able to dive into Buffy’s subconscious with not only minimal difficultly but zero effect to her aswell.
Still this quibble aside a large portion of the episode is spent in the subconcious of Buffy by Willow which while we could have seen some flashy imagery instead boils down to Willow hanging out with Buffy as a child reliving the imprinted memory of the day her parents brought Dawn home from the hospital. These sections also include Buffy smothering Dawn with a pillow as the as Buffy repeats that “Death is her Gift” giving a hint to the kicker for the episode.
Elsewhere we get everyone’s favourite dysfunctional double act of Spike and Xander as they set out to try and find any kind of weakness or information on Glory, which takes to Doc who we previously got to see when Dawn visited him for help resurrecting her mother and he was such a fun character then it was great to see him here again. The bad news for them though is that he’s also inline with Glory as he not only demonstrates an impressive tongue attack aswell as being able to survive being stabbed through the chest by Xander.
Its fun as always seeing these two bicker their way through the episode while it benifited from the amount of time being put into developing the bond between Spike and Dawn as otherwise his sudden willingness to help the group might have come off more as pandering to Buffy’s feelings than doing anything for the greater good.
The other saving grace of this episode is once more Glory, who while dealing with her final preparation also has to now continually battle her human side Ben leading to some great moments of her switching back and forth between the two personas as the two argue over the fate of Dawn with Glory finally managing to become the dominant personality by promising Ben freedom from their coexistence if he assists her. Of course with fate of Dawn is one of the big problems facing the group and one which only seems the more hopeless when we end on Giles revealing that by killing Dawn will the group be able to finally defeat Glory.
Next Episode: The Gift