Intervention (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Buffy examines the BuffyBot believing they don't look alike
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 18
Directed by Michael Gershman
Written by Jane Espenson
Production code 5ABB18
Original air date April 24, 2001
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 5)
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"Intervention" is the eighteenth episode in the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Plot synopsis

At the Summers's home after dinner, Buffy confesses to Giles that she's worried about her ability to love. Giles suggests he and Buffy go to a sacred location in the desert so that she can undergo a vision quest. When they arrive, Giles performs a ritual to create Buffy's guide. A mountain lion appears and directs Buffy into an open desert that reminds her of her dream from "Restless."

Glory orders her minions to watch the Slayer and see who is new and special in her life, as that person is likely to be the Key. That night, one of the minions watches the group through a window at Xander's apartment; Dawn secretly takes Anya's earrings from a table.

Spike receives his Buffybot from Warren, commissioned in "I Was Made to Love You". Spike and his Buffybot pretend to fight, which inevitably leads to sex. While Spike is sleeping it off, the Buffybot heads out to patrol for vampires. She runs into Xander and Anya in a graveyard and successfully masquerades as Buffy. Later, Xander and Anya oversee Spike and the Buffybot having sex in the cemetery, and shocked, Xander goes to confront them. However, Glory's minions assume Spike is the Key, and knock Xander unconscious and take Spike. Glory is upset when she sees Spike, as she knows a vampire cannot be the Key. Nevertheless, she decides to torture him in hopes that he knows where the Key is.

Buffy wakes to find her guide, in the form of the First Slayer, on the opposite side of a large fire. The guide advises Buffy that love is at the center of all Slayers and that love will bring Buffy to her gift. When Buffy asks "What gift?", the guide tells her death is her gift.

Worried about Spike, the Buffybot leaves Xander unconscious at the crypt and goes to Xander's apartment for help. Willow sternly talks to the Buffybot (whom she mistakes for Buffy) about her sexual relationship with Spike, until Xander comes home and fills everyone in about Spike being taken by Glory's minions. Realizing Glory has a captive who knows that Dawn is the Key, Willow, Xander, and the Buffybot head to the Summers' residence for weapons so they can either rescue Spike before he can reveal Dawn's secret, or do what must be done to keep him from talking. When the Buffybot goes upstairs to change, the real Buffy enters, which clears up all the confusion and leaves the gang disgusted at the thought of why Spike had Warren build the Buffybot. The real Buffy tells the gang to grab their weapons, she knows where to start looking for Spike and Glory, and is ready to kill him. Meanwhile, Glory is brutally torturing Spike, who refuses to tell her the Key's location and subjects Glory to a symphony of verbal abuse. Spike manages to escape through the elevator. When the elevator lands at the lobby, Spike collapses in relief when he sees Buffy and Xander rush in. They are soon joined by Giles and the Buffybot, who gets injured in the fight. Two of Glory's minions run away, and confess to Glory that the Slayer and her friends rescued Spike. The Hell-God is not pleased and responds violently, causing the two of them to scream out in pain.

At the Magic Box, Willow examines the Buffybot, and determines that she'd easily be able to fix it, but sheepishly says she won't when she sees the look on Buffy's face. Xander, though disgusted by the purpose of the Buffybot, expresses a sort of sympathy for Spike, having seen the extent of his injuries when he (Xander) and Giles brought him back to his crypt, during which they were unable to discover whether or not Spike sold Dawn out. While Spike, beaten and bloody, rests, Buffy enters the crypt pretending to be the Buffybot. When Spike explains Glory wanted to know who the Key was, Buffy, mimicking the Buffybot's directness, offers to tell her, but Spike, upset, warns her that no one must know. Spike says if anything happened to Dawn, it would destroy the real Buffy, and he would rather die than let that happen. Touched, Buffy kisses him. Spike pulls back as he realizes it is actually Buffy; though disgusted by the robot, Buffy says she'll never forget what he did for her and Dawn, and departs, leaving a speechless Spike staring after her.

Production details

Writer Jane Espenson explains the Buffybot was introduced out of "the necessity of story", as it was "interesting to see what Spike would do with this bot... to see how those personalities affect each other." Providing Sarah Michelle Gellar with the chance for comic relief during a period of particular grimness for her character was a "bonus... an extra scoop of ice-cream," says Espenson.[1]

In the fight scenes in "Intervention", Xander was played by Nicholas Brendon's identical twin, Kelly Donovan, because Nicholas suffered from pneumonia at the time.[2]

Cultural references


  • In the season four finale, "Restless", which also had a psychological bent, the First Slayer made an appearance but did not speak except for the words "No... friends...just...the kill." Here she speaks fluently because she is actually a spirit guide in the form of the First Slayer there to tell Buffy things about being a Slayer, and three episodes later this conversation with the spirit guide will lead Buffy to believe that she is just a killer, as the First Slayer was.
  • Xander's first guess upon seeing Buffy and the Buffybot together is, "They're both Buffy.' In "The Replacement" (also written by Jane Espenson who said on multiple occasions she enjoys adding references to episodes she wrote), Xander was split into two versions of himself, and he initially assumes that the same thing has happened to Buffy.
  • As revealed in The Body, Tara underwent serious emotional problems following her own mother's death, and she is quick to urge the other Scoobies to not overreact to any atypical behavior from Buffy. However, upon learning that Buffy is allegedly sleeping with Spike, even she concurs that Buffy is obviously in serious need of psychiatric help.
  • Spike's dislike of Angel manifests itself in Buffybot's programmed opinion of Angel. "Angel's lame. His hair goes straight up and he's bloody stupid."
  • Buffy remembers the desert from her dream in "Restless". She will send the potential slayers to the same desert in "The Killer in Me".

Arc significance

  • The Buffybot, introduced in this episode, plays a crucial role in "The Gift" and "Bargaining,"
  • Dawn is shown to steal Anya's earrings; her increasing kleptomania is eventually discovered in "Older and Far Away".
  • Buffy loses her anger towards Spike and welcomes him back into the fold.
  • This episode is the first time Buffy kisses Spike of her own accord; they previously kissed in "Something Blue" while under Willow's spell and in "Out Of My Mind" during Spike's dream.
  • In this episode, Buffy finds out that "death is [her] gift", which leads to her decision to die to save the world in "The Gift".
  • This episode, like "Something Blue", foreshadows the romance between Buffy and Spike.
  • Warren leaves town after delivering the Buffybot to Spike. This is his last appearance until Season Six's "Flooded".


  • As Buffy is following the mountain lion, a quick glimpse of someone in jeans can be seen in the upper right of the screen. (around 13:44)


  1. ^ "Episode Guide: Intervention", BBC, retrieved 2007-09-15
  2. ^ "Biography for Kelly Donovan",, retrieved 2007-09-15

External links

  • "Intervention" on IMDb
  • "Intervention" at
  • "Intervention" at
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