The Scooby Gang, knowing that Glory has the advantage over them, make plans to try to avert the apocalypse that will result if her plans succeed. None of them have any ideas apart from killing Buffy's sister Dawn, which Buffy refuses to consider. Xander reluctantly suggests killing Ben, although he is an innocent, as his death will destroy Glory. Giles however points out that it's unlikely Ben will resurface before the ritual. In the end Anya suggests making use of two items found earlier in the season: the Dagon Sphere, which repels and confuses Glory, and the hammer of Olaf the troll. It is also surmised that Buffy doesn't have to kill Glory but only to delay her ritual, which can only be performed at a specific place and time, after which the Key is useless to Glory and Dawn is safe from her.
They need to know where the ritual is to occur. Tara, like others from whom Glory has sucked sanity, knows this instinctively and is drawn there; when the time comes, the Scoobies will follow her.
Buffy trains with Giles and the two muse that they have saved the world at least six times before â and it feels like a hundred. Buffy tells Giles that the First Slayer told her, on her vision quest, that death was her gift, and she doesn't like the idea that death is all she can offer people. Buffy also notes that she killed Angel despite loving him with all her heart, but if Dawn dies then it will be too much and she will be finished as the Slayer.
While searching for the Dagon Sphere in the Magic Box's basement, Xander proposes to Anya, but she tells him to give the ring to her again "after the world doesn't end."
Buffy and Spike go to her house to gather weapons. She invites him again into her house, and they both let one another know they respect each other. Buffy asks Spike to protect Dawn, and Spike tells Buffy he knows she'll never love him, but he is grateful that she treats him like a man rather than a monster.
Meanwhile, Dawn is tied up at the top of a tower that Glory's minions have constructed for the ritual to open the gates between dimensions, allowing Glory to return home but setting all hell loose on Earth in the process.
The group prepares to leave, planning to reach Glory immediately before the time of the ritual; if they come too soon and Glory defeats them too soon, she can still do the ritual. As Tara arrives at the tower, Glory demands to know what she is doing there. Glory is then ambushed by Willow, who performs a spell that restores Tara's sanity, confuses and dazes Glory, and throws all three of them backwards violently. Glory, still dazed, decides that she needs a brain to psychically feed on and sees Buffy. She orders her minions to guard the path up the tower.
Buffy brandishes the Dagon Sphere and tosses it to Glory, who is obviously in pain holding it. Glory manages to crush it in her hands. In this time Buffy runs up and attacks her, initially gaining the upper hand. Giles, Spike, and Anya attack the minions at the base of the tower, with the hope of breaking through to rescue Dawn. Glory regains her senses during the fight with Buffy and throws a punch that is hard enough to knock Buffy's head off, revealing that she was actually fighting the Buffybot. The real Buffy reveals herself behind Glory and strikes with Olaf's hammer, throwing Glory against a wall. Buffy then forces her way past Glory's minions and attempts to climb the tower; but Glory regains her senses and quickly catches up with Buffy. They fight on the tower's stairs and both eventually fall to the ground. Glory confronts Buffy before she can retrieve the hammer, but is knocked off her feet by a wrecking ball operated by Xander. While Glory is dazed, Buffy picks up the hammer and beats her repeatedly with it. Glory reverts back to the form of the mortal Ben, and Buffy tells him that Glory has missed her chance, warning him that she will kill him unless he leaves Sunnydale permanently. She then leaves to try and rescue Dawn. Giles approaches a panting Ben and Ben admits he thought Buffy was going to kill him. Giles tells Ben that Buffy would never do that as she's a hero â unlike him. Giles then kills Ben by suffocating him to prevent Glory ever returning, knowing that Glory would eventually return and make Buffy pay for her act of mercy.
At the top of the tower, Dawn is nervously watching the battle raging below. She is surprised to see Doc at the top of the tower and, unaware that he is working for Glory, cries to him for help. He instead pulls out a knife and advances on her.
Giles, Anya, and Spike are not making any progress through the minions and fall back, until Spike notices that there is someone at the top of the tower along with Dawn. Using telepathy, Willow orders Spike to climb the tower, and then she and Tara use telekinesis to clear the minions from his path. Spike sprints to the top of the tower and when Dawn sees him she calls to him. Doc turns round and Spike advances on him. The fight is short-lived however, as Doc proves to be far stronger than suspected and throws Spike from the tower, giving himself time to initiate the ritual. He makes two shallow cuts on Dawn's abdomen.
Buffy runs to the top of the tower and nonchalantly pushes Doc to fall. She unties her sister but some of Dawn's blood has already dripped down and activated the portal. The portal expands, bringing monsters and chaos. Knowing that the portal won't close until her blood stops flowing, Dawn tries to jump into the portal, but Buffy stops her. Suddenly, Buffy has a flashback of several points in the season: Spike saying that it has always got to be the blood, Buffy telling Dawn they both shared "Summers blood", Buffy's proclamation that "the monks made [Dawn] out of me" and the spirit guide (in the form of the First Slayer) telling her that "death is [her] gift". Buffy understands that her own death can substitute for Dawn's. After exchanging brief words of encouragement with Dawn, Buffy throws herself into the portal, closing it. Her battered body is found at the bottom of the tower, as the sun is rising.
â "Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles... tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world... is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me." - Buffy â
Buffy's friends grieve - Spike weeps - and the season closes with a view of Buffy's grave bearing the epitaph:
BUFFY ANNE SUMMERS
SHE SAVED THE WORLD