19. Tough Love
The first half is fairly plodding but the second part is superior, with the tragic twist with Tara and our first glimpse at Willow using dark magic (notice the black eyes). 7.5/10
A different kind of episode, as the Scoobies go on a road trip to protect Dawn from Glory, though the Knights of the Byzantium are on their tail. It’s interesting to see Buffy run away. 8.5/10
21. The Weight of the World
Not as exciting as a penultimate episode should be, but this one does bring our heroes to their lowest. In particular, Buffy is left catatonic by Dawn’s loss – meaning we get a trip into her mind. 8/10
22. The Gift
Buffy’s 100th – and originally final – episode delivers in every way you could hope. Buffy’s moving but still kind of triumphant death totally changes the show from this point on. 9.5/10
Verdict: On the face of it, it’s curious that the universally beloved season five comes out with a (slightly) lower rating in our rewatch than the controversial season four. On average, though, season five doesn’t have the high standard of individual episodes of the last few seasons – even if it does have two of the show’s finest hours within it. Instead, the season switches to a much more serialized narrative which gives us one of Buffy‘s strongest season-long story arcs. Dawn, often hated by fans, undoubtedly shifts the show in a fresh, exciting way – in particular, her arrival significantly changes Buffy’s character. Claire Kramer’s Glory is a fun villain – like Cordelia with the powers of a god. Another highlight for me is Spike’s continuing growth, exacerbated by his love for Buffy. This isn’t my favourite season – like I said, one-four have stronger single episodes – but it is still phenomenal TV.