Buffy S5: Some questions

I know there’s another Buffy Season 5 thread here:

But it started drifting into spoiler territory for season 6 and 7 and I had to stop reading. I just saw the end of Season 5 on FX, and watched 1-4 immediately before that. Prior to this I’m a Buffy virgin, so please, no season 6 or 7 spoilers here.

So, I enjoyed the season overall, I loved the addition of Dawn, and how it was handled. Loved the changes in Spike and Anya, as well as Buffy herself. Heck, all the characters grew up quite a bit this year, even Xander. And there were some really great episodes. But in skimming through fan reaction on the web, I’m astonished that I seem to be alone in HATING Glory and her whole storyline. (I also seem to be alone in not seeing anything wrong with the Initiative, Adam, and Riley, but that’s another story.)

Maybe I just don’t understand, so here are some questions:

  1. Was Glory on earth for centuries or just 25 years? They seem to indicate both in different episodes. Is Ben immortal? Is he just the latest in a long line of human prisons?
  2. Why is there only one time that the Key can be used? For that matter, why would anyone make such a thing in the first place. Unless they were evil, and if they were, why not use it immediately?
  3. If Glory didn’t know until late in the season that the Key was in human form, where did this blood ritual come from? What would she have done if the monks made the key into a rock?
  4. Why did Giles assume that Dawn would have to die for the ritual to stop? It said “when the flow of blood stops.” They haven’t heard of band-aids?
  5. Why does Buffy’s death stop the ritual? Yeah, they’re sisters and all, sure. But Buffy’s not the Key. Dawn was still bleeding, why didn’t more portals open?
  6. Giles says to Ben that Buffy is a hero, not like “us”. How did he know Ben joined with Glory? Only Dawn knew that. Giles thought Ben was an innocent bystander, right?
  7. Since when was Olaf’s Hammer a Troll-GOD hammer? I thought he was just a regular old troll.
    All of these apparent inconsistancies on top of the excruciatingly bad acting by Glory herself made me cringe every time she came on the screen. On top of that, every appearance was the same: “Oh, I’m so pretty and shallow, damn you stupid minions, where’s the key? And now, I’ll suck out a brain.” See you next week! When Spike and Dru were the big bads, they had a different scheme every week. Ditto for the Mayor. And the Initiative at least evolved from capturing monsters, to building Adam, to hunting Adam. Glory was so one-note in comparison. I don’t get it.

Disclaimer: most of the (very valid) questions you ask have no real answer and are a result of the extremely lazy writing that plagued season 5. I’m just offering my speculations and other theories I’ve heard.

I don’t think they ever really clear this up for us. From Ben’s dialog, we know that this has been going on for a while from his perspective, but that’s about all we know. I assume that Glory was only on Earth for about 25 years, many of which she was either dormant or simply too incapacitated by Ben to look for the Key, and that’s why she only actually finds it by s5.

Basically, the Key makes absolutely no sense. It may have another use, but we’re not really sure what it is.

I’ve seen this question batted about on message boards more times than I care to admit. The most plausible theory I’ve read is that when the monks changed the Key into Dawn, in the same way that reality was altered to insert Dawn into the world, the ritual was changed to include blood. Presumably if she had been a rock, you would have had to grind it into powder or something. I’m more keen to place the blame on lazy writing, but there you go.

Otherwise, it makes Glory and her minions even more stupid when they spend half the season unaware that the Key is even a human.

The same reason Buffy had to send Angel to hell instead of just cutting his finger open and letting the blood spill on the doorway to close it. Aside from the obvious fact that it’s more dramatic, it might tie into Spikes “It’s always gotta be the blood” thing (i.e. maybe the Buffyverse is inherently death-based or something).

Because the end of The Gift makes absolutely no sense. First of all, Buffy pulls the “they made her outta me!” crap right out of her ass and we’re never given any reason at all to believe she’s right about that. And even if she is, it doesn’t make her the Key, and shouldn’t close the portal.

The most plausible theory I’ve heard is that Buffy being able to die in Dawn’s stead was Buffy’s gift.

He knew Ben was Glory at that point. When Glory started going more bonkers than usual Xander and the rest remembered what they’d seen.

He was. Whedon pulled that out of his ass, as well.

I assumed that Giles thought it would take all the blood Dawn had to open the portal completely, so they would not stop until Dawn was dead. The monster played by Joel Grey seemed to have the same belief, as he cut Dawn in shallow cuts so she would bleed for as long as possible. It’s possible they did not know the exact time the blood would be needed, so they needed a constant drip over some period of time.
I’m still wondering what happend to the dragon that floew out of the rift.

It went to work for Wolfram & Hart. :smiley:

This one really bugs me. Ben makes it sound like it’s only been twenty-five years, but if that’s the case, where the hell did those knights come from? Did they first organize themselves back in the mid-seventies? If so, what’s with the swords and chainmail? On the other hand, if they’ve been around since the middle ages, what the hell were they doing all that time? Listening to them talk, it sounds like the whole purpose of their order is to stop Glory. Did they form a super-secret cabal of knights five hundred years ago, and maintain their numbers and training and secret lore for centuries, on the off-hand chance a hell god would be banished to Earth at some point in the future? To hell with Batman: that’s what I call being prepared!

Ben came to the abandonded gas station (or whatever it was) to treat Giles who’d been injured in the battle with those knight/crusader guys. Ben turned into Glory in front of everyone and ran off with Dawn.

Part of Glory’s power is that if people see her transform into Ben, they forget about it. At the beginning of (I think) the next episode, the gang is back at the magic shop and Spike is trying to explain to everyone that Glory=Ben (I guess he remembers because he’s part demon or something). They played it for laughts that he had to explain it over and over before they started catching on.


I haven’t watched the eps in a while, but isn’t the job of the Knights to protect the Key rather than just to stop Glory? If so, that could explain why they’ve been around so long (if they have); I imagine there have been other people after the Key who the monks could actually stop.

Although they still make absolutely no sense. Because why do they insist on the chainmail and swords now even if they’ve been around for hundreds of years? Even if they were around for only 25 years, why didn’t they find the Key and protect/destroy it themselves? Bleh, I really hate the knights (“Spiral” makes me gag).

Glad I’m not the only one who found the writing lacking for this arc.

Glory herself says 25 years at some point late in the season, but I don’t remember her exact words. But as mentioned, that’s silly because where did all this lore come from? The scrolls and books about the beast. As Miller noted, The knights. Etc…

Sad to hear that. Dawn is a really cool character concept and deserves better.

OK, that one I actually buy.

That always bothered me too. :slight_smile:

I will grumble and accept it. It’s sad because a few line here and there could’ve made it make sense. If Buffy had actually found out that the monks used a sample of her blood to make Dawn, rather than making it up. If they had thrown in a line by Willow or Giles about how magic and prophecy can sometimes be very literal and therefore can be tricked with semantics. If Buffy had cut herself and let some of her blood fall into the rift, after bandaging Dawn, with some flashy effect showing a conneciton to the rift shifting to her. It could’ve made sense. sigh…

OK, yeah, I guess, but he had no way of knowing if Ben was just a guise of Glory or an innocent possesed by her.

Actually, it was to DESTROY the key.

I always fanwanked it in my head that the genetic copy was close enough that when Buffy jumped and passed her blood through the portal, it sorta short-circuited the system and shut it down. And this flaw in the spell was only there because the Key had been made human by the monks. Death then was both a gift to Buffy, that the flaw was created such that a death could save the world, and Buffy’s to give, in sacrificing herself to exploit it.

As far as her sudden realization, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. It’s pretty standard for the Hero TM to have an epiphany mid-battle that gives them the power to defeat the bad guy.

gonzoron, I’m going to hijack for a moment here and BEG you not to watch seasons 6 and 7, except for the musical episode. Please, please, please.

Re : Glory’s tenure on Earth, lore of the Beast, the Key, and the Knights of Byzantium.

It’s not made clear, but the version I have in my head that jibes with the facts -

At some point in the distant past, Glorificus is born/made, and begins to rule her Hell-dimension with her two unnamed pals. After that, at some point, some truly powerful magical types created the key - for what purpose, we don’t know.

Apparently, this Key generated some buzz in the mystical world - people heard about it. Some, like Glory, would later remember it when exiled, and see it as a means of returning home. Some, like the humans who founded the Knights, saw it as a ticking time-bomb, just waiting for some demon to use it. The humans who founded the Monks, on the other hand, saw it as a potentially useful widget, certainly not something to be destroyed.

So, thousands of years ago - key is on Earth, Glory’s in her dimension, maybe there are prototypes of the Knights and Monks running around, we’re not sure.

Just like the Watcher’s Council, the Knights of Byzantium gather information on demonic threats. At some point they learn, perhaps from tomes, perhaps from interrogating dimension-lost demons, of Glorificus. And they file that away.

Then, flash forward to the late 1970s. Glorificus is banished into a mortal shell. Mystical shockwaves are felt throughout the magic community. The Knight’s clerics are able to divine that the powerful Hellgod Glorificus has been dropped onto Earth, in a mortal shell, but are unable to penetrate the cloaking magics around her shell to identify it.

Then, 2001ish - Glory has been making some waves for a few years, mostly subtle stuff, but growing more desperate and violent, as she seeks the Key. The Knights start putting the clues together to track her; they guess at her goal, the key. Unfortunately, she finds the monks first, and the Knights come along weeks or months behind, only able to die feebly as they try to keep Glory from her goal.

Wow. I consider myself quite a Buffy fan. I’ve seen “The Gift” more times than I can fathom. And these questions never occured to me. I always though the way “The Gift” tied together the random bits of Season 5, from Olaf to BuffyBot, was intriguing.

I’m the perfect fan. :smiley:

“Wow, Buffy’s right! She and Dawn are like, identical twins! So if Buffy dies… Yay!”

“Olaf the Troll-God, I remember him!”

“Dude, librarian-boy Giles is murdering (semi)-innocent person in cold blood. Cooooooooool.”

Carry on. This is a good discussion. I just feel dorky for never thinking outside the (glowing) box.

Sorry, Jenny, I can’t resist the siren call. I’ve already watched the first 4 eps of S6 last night. I know most fans online hate them. But then most fans online seem to hate S4 too, and I liked it, so who knows? I am dreading Willow going bad, since she’s my fave character which is one of the spoilers I stumbled on. But no matter how bad it gets, I must watch the debacle. I’m a completist.

Crap is my Gift.

Ah, true, but then of course the chilling thing is that Giles doesn’t really care how innocent Ben is, he just knows he needs to kill him to save Buffy in the future.

As for the “not heroes like us” line, I think he was just generalizing and saying that no one is a hero like Buffy.

I like CandidGamera’s perspective on the whole Knights thing. Unfortunately, even this makes the Knights total idiots for not utilizing any modern technology whatsoever in their quest to destroy the Key. Also very inept, since they were created for the purpose of destroying the Key (thanks, gonzoron) and haven’t been able to do it over, presumably, hundreds of years. But, yeah, that’s the best rationalization for the Knights I’ve read.

Giles doesn’t say “heroes like us,” does he? “He says Buffy is a hero. Not like us.”

I think this is Giles’ creepy flipside of Xanders’ “you’re my hero” speech.

What I got from the line is that Buffy, being a hero, will not compromise - she had told him eariler in the episode that she wouldn’t sacrifice her sister under any circumstances. A hero has the ability/curse to take this sort of stand. Giles and Ben are just human. Ben compromises with Glory, handing over innocent Dawn to save himself, and Giles murders an innnocent man to ensure that Glory won’t return. Hence the “us.”

These are both things a traditional hero - ie, Buffy, could never do because they would violate a personal code of hers. This is why the “kidnap a love one” trap always, always works on heros. If Buffy had told the Mayor she didn’t give a crap what he did to Willow when she had the Box, she would by definition not be a hero, even though she would have still averted the Ascention.

gonzoron, you’ll regret it. I’m sorry. And I’ll be here when you need to vent your frustration.

Ok, I forgot to actually make my point - Giles is pointing out that he is not a hero, and therefore has no reason to let Ben live.

Gonzoron, enjoy Seasons 6 & 7. I know I did! :smiley:

Candid does patch things together pretty well, above. But as mentioned, the knights are morons. Even the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword from Indiana Jones used guns and speedboats! (Unless their weapons and armor are magical or something? Stretching…) The sad thing is that the writers KNEW it was lame (they even had Spike, Ben, and Xander make fun of them) but never bothered to explain further.

I still find the whole nonsense lacking, but at least the chronology makes sense.

Rysler, I also liked how it all came together for the final battle. (The buffy-bot, Xander’s construction expertise, Olaf, etc.) And maybe on a lesser show, I would’ve let the plot-holes slide, but it just seems like Joss, et al, can and have done better. One of the things I like best about Buffy is that the characters don’t forget their pasts. (I chuckle everytime someone mentions Hyenas or the Incan Mummy girl, or Preying Mantises, Amy the rat, or Bunnies.) So I’ve come to expect the show to remember what came before and make sense out of it. (Like Tara’s messing up the demon-locating spell being finally explained dozens of episodes later.)

I agree with Jenny that Giles’s line was referring to the fact that he’s not a hero. He’s something darker, that’s sometimes what it takes to get the job done. But when he said “us” it seemed to imply Ben as well. If he said “me” it would’ve made more sense. (Unless he meant “us” as in the whole scooby gang?)

As did I. S6 is what made me a Buffy fan and I am watching those again on FX right now. I think it was yesterday or the day before that Serial Life (I think that’s the name of it) came on again and I laughed just as much today as I did when I first saw it a couple months ago. I love the Troika even though most other fans seem to loathe them.

The Knights seemed to do pretty well against Our Heroes using the old-school weaponry…

Took down a Winnebago, severely injured Giles (although he got significantly better in like three hours…oops), moderately injured Spike, trapped and forced Buffy and company into a completely defensive posture, would’ve captured/killed Dawn in a matter of hours had Buffy not called in Ben.

I don’t know that modern weaponry would have been all that terribly effective against Glory anyway, wrecking ball notwithstanding. Knives hurled with magical force bounced off her; perhaps bullets would as well? They were never after Glory anyway; they were after either the Key or Glory’s mortal prison.

But yeah, I was irritated at the time and remain mildly irritated at Olaf’s upgrade to godhood (although if one reeeeally wanted to stretch the wank one could read Anya’s line as “Olaf the Troll, god’s hammer” meaning that Olaf is still a troll but the hammer was a god’s weapon but that’s totally pushing it). And I was amazingly annoyed at the “the monks made her out of me” garbage thrown in almost literally at the last minute. It was like the writers reviewed the season and realized “oops, we never quite established that, did we” and tossed in the line in the hopes that it would slip past us. Silly, silly writers, nothing slips past us. They could so easily during the dying monk’s exposition have put in a few words about “we combined the Key with your essence” or whatever to establish it.

See, the glaring inconsistency to me, from this season, is Buffy’s casual killing of the very-human Knights when it suits her purpose, when we’ve seen evidence that, in seasons 3 and 6, specifically, killing humans = bad, from her point of view.

But I’ve ranted about that before.

The reason the Knights don’t use technology seems to be that they are cloistered away from society. While they’ve got good mystical connections, and probably keep their eyes peeled in that regard, the only reasonable explanation I can come up with for the way they interact with modern technology is that they all live in isolated monasteries.

I mean, crap, did you see the signature of the one who signed for his comrade’s release from the hospital? It was calligraphy.

Idle speculation time - the Knights felt that the modern world was a corrupting influence that hampered their ability to watch for mystical threats (or their ability to devote themselves to God) and they dropped out of society around 1300AD.