Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 5, Episode 18: InterventionWritten by Jane Espenson; Directed by Michael Gershman
Normally I don't like it when Buffy does technology, but I'm going to make an exception in this case because the Buffybot is so damn funny. It makes a change to see Sarah Michelle Gellar actually smiling, given that Buffy does precious little of that from hereon in, and the Buffybot certainly does smiles with abundance.
This is initially a deceptively lighthearted episode, which comes as a great relief after The Body and Forever (the reason Season 5's doom and gloom works is that the writers were able to mix the serious with the not so serious, something they utterly fail to do in Seasons 6 and 7), but it's a crucial episode for two reasons. One, the First Slayer tells Buffy that "death is your gift", which will have major implications for both the way Buffy sees herself and for the season finale, The Gift. Two, it proves unequivocally that Spike has changed, since he allows himself to be tortured by Glory to the point of verging on death (excellent make-up effects, by the way) rather than tell her the identity of the Key. Of course, that doesn't do much good, given that Glory finds that out in the very next episode, but as a gesture it speaks volumes.
Overall rating: 9/10.
Next time: Tough Love.