"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Checkpoint (TV Episode 2001) Poster

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The Council's back in town
katierose29528 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw the Knights of Byzanthium, I had no idea what was going on. Crusaders were suddenly in Sunnydale and they were fighting against Glory AND Buffy. It took me awhile to see that there are really three sides to the battle this season. There's Glory, who wants the key/Dawn. There's Buffy, who wants to protect Dawn from Glory. And there are the Knights of Byzanthium, who want to stop Glory and will sacrifice Dawn to do it. The fight that plays out between them has no real "right" answers or clear cut winners. Season five has some of the show's most complex and dramatic story lines and this episode sets up a lot of the conflict to come.

"Checkpoint" revolves around the Watcher's Council arriving in Sunnydale. They have some information on Glory, but the won't give it to Buffy until she proves that she is worthy as the Slayer. They put her through a lot of tests and question all the Scoobies about her abilities. Buffy is frantic to satisfy their demands so that she can learn more about Glory. But the Council seems determined to make her fail. They give her fighting instructions in Japanese. They insinuate that she makes bad choices by including the Scoobies in her battles. And they even say that they can have Giles deported if she doesn't cooperate with them. When Glory comes to her house and starts threatening her family, Buffy really panics. She takes Joyce and Dawn to stay at Spike's, while she heads back to the Magic Box for more Council tests. On her way, she's attacked by a guy dressed like a crusader. He's one of the Knights of Byzanthium, who have been searching for the key for millennia. They will stop at nothing to destroy it and stop Glory. When Buffy gets back to the Magic Box, she tells the Council that she's through with these tests. She's the Slayer and she demands that they do their jobs and give her the information she needs... Now. They agree, finally explaining that Glory isn't a ordinary demon... She's a god.

There's a lot to like about this episode. I love the Council questioning all the Scoobies about Buffy. Willow and Tara have no idea what level witches they are, so they just make it up. "Um... Five?" Anya is baking the Council muffins, trying to hide her demon heritage. Xander can't think of any special skills, knowledge or powers that he might have. But he knows that he was the heart-part of that super-Buffy spell back in season four's "Primeval." "It wasn't as weird as it sounds, though." Spike cheerfully lies about Buffy's Slayer performance, apparently just for his own amusement. "The girl's definitely slipping." Then, he flirts with a Council member who wrote her thesis on him. (On a personal note, I wish I could write my thesis on Spike, but I don't think my adviser would go for it.) And Giles is protective of Buffy, furious at the Council and generally uncooperative. Really it's one of the most entertaining parts of the whole season.

One of the great small moments in the episode is Buffy taking Joyce and Dawn to hide at Spike's tomb. He starts out with his normal demands for money. But, when Buffy tells them that she's being serious, he stops kidding around and listens to her. His old excuse that he's only assisting the Scoobies for payment is fading. He's no longer the Spike from season four's "A New Man." (Who demanded that Giles give him 200 dollars before he helped with that Feural demon mess.) Spike no longer needs that emotional distance from the Scoobie gang. He's a part of it now. Buffy believes that Spike is the only one who can protect her family from Glory while she's with the Council and she asks for his help. Spike is actually touched by her faith in him and agrees. Both Spike and Buffy are making big steps here. She is acknowledging that Spike is on her side now and he's one of the good guys. Buffy is placing her trust in Spike and including him in the Scoobie group. Spike, meanwhile, is accepting the responsibility of Joyce and Dawn. There's nothing in it for him and, since Glory is pretty much unbeatable, he's actually risking his un-life by protecting them. But he's doing it for Buffy and because it's the right thing to do. He and Joyce sit down to watch "Passions," gossiping about the characters, which is just about the funniest scene I've ever seen. I love Spike and Joyce's scenes together. He's always so polite to her. I think that she reminds him of his own mother.

On the down side, what the heck does the Council think it's gonna do if Buffy fails those tests? They can't exactly go to Faith, since she's in prison. Buffy's the only Slayer they've got and if she doesn't stop Glory then the world is over. What's the point of all this "testing"? I guess Buffy's right and it's all just a power play, but still, it seems like a big waste of their time.

My favorite part of the episode: Anya's fear that the Council will discover that she's an ex-demon. From her fictitious childhood in south-eastern Indiana, where she was "rasied by both a mother and a father," to her made-up Fourth of July birthday ("'Where's our little patriot?' everyone would say."), to her shouting "Willow's a demon?" when Buffy tells the Council that there's a 1000 year old ex-demon in the Scoobie ranks... It's all just hilarious.
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A Matter of Power
claudio_carvalho6 October 2007
Giles informs Buffy and the Scooby gang that the Council of Watchers leaded by Quentin Travers will come to Sunnydale with information about Glory. When the arrogant team arrives, they blackmail Buffy and her friends, threatening Giles to send him back to England. Buffy and her friends accept to be submitted to the review leaded by Quentin. However, when Glory comes to Buffy's home and threatens her family and friends and Buffy is attacked by the Knights of Byzanthium, she changes her attitude in a matter of power.

In this episode, I believe this is the first time that Buffy has a mature attitude and realizes how powerful and important she is in a world crowded of vampires and demons. I was irritated with the position of Quentin Travers and his team, but the conclusion with Buffy assuming the leadership was unforgettable. The revelation that Glory is a god is a great twist in the series as well as the new enemies of Buffy, the Knights of Byzanthium. Spike, as usual, is hilarious and Anya, Tara and Willow are also great with their replies along the interviews. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Grande Teste" ("The Great Test")
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Buffy Realizes the Importance of Power & Control
Samuel-Shovel7 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The Council comes to town to give Buffy information on Glory and how to deal with her. But first they want an update on Buffy's slaying techniques and cause a big headache for her and the gang. Meanwhile Glory puts the screws on Buffy to reveal the location of the Key. A new player comes to town in the form of the Knights of Byzantium and they want the Key as well.

A lot of moving and shaking goes on in this episode. Glory returns and locates the Summers' household, threatening Buffy's family in the process. Also we learn that, while her and Ben are working together, she doesn't hold absolute power over him which is interesting. You think she'd destroy him for not giving her the information she wanted. What is the relationship between the two.

Who are these knights? They are anti-Glory but also want to destroy the Key. I guess the real question is what is the significance of the Key and Dawn?

This was a good episode that not only furthered the plot, but also furthered Buffy's character arc. The way she stood up for herself and her friends against the Council was wonderful. She seems to have had some kind of epiphany regarding the power she wields over the people around her. How she uses this new knowledge, we shall see.
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The watcher test
Realrockerhalloween4 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A nice episode where the watchers council follow Giles back from London to test her abilities. It was great how they interview the scoobies with Anya trying to convince them she is a normal girl, Xander can't think of a skill he's good at, Tara & Willow coming out with their relationship along with their power level as witches and Spike who feels jaded tries to down play how strong she's gotten. It shows that they seem useless in the long run, but in the scheme of the battle have saved Buffy, killed demons and stopped apocalypses before they got out of control. All last season they felt in the way, a burden and useless yet once you get down to it Buffy would be list and dead by this time point without them.

More surprisingly is how they view the slayer as a tool who doesn't give orders and only exists to follow them. Buffy proves that without them they are sitting ducks and she holds the power meaning they serve no purpose without a slayer working for them. Another revelation is Glory's a God instead of a demon or old one who crossed dimension. It actually makes sense as she has super strength, speed, can't be harmed and even looks like a Greek goddess. I know she is looking for the key, but why and what she wants to use it for is still a mystery. Also I wonder how the council found out this info only unless she's visited before or if they sent an expedition team to her home world.
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The One Where The Watchers Council Is Coming...
taylorkingston3 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I really like this episode. It's funny and interesting.

In this episode, Giles informs Buffy and the rest of the Scooby's that The Watchers Council is coming to test Buffy. And they also have information about Glory. Buffy goes along with their little tests and games for a while, but then she's had enough. She refuses to play their twisted game any longer, and forces them to tell her what they know about Glory. And the last scene of the episode, is where we find out that Glory isn't a demon, she's a God. A God! Holy crap! (Pun intended) How the hell are they going to defeat a God?! I mean, I know, but I've seen the Season 5 finale. This episode is a great led-up to the end of the season and just makes everything juicer. Also, Glory came to Buffy's house to threaten her and her family. This was before Buffy found out that she was a God.

Overall, I give this episode an 8 out of 10.
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Watch out there's Watchers about
Joxerlives5 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The Good; Some very good scenes with the council and a nice face off between Buffy and Glory at the Summer's house. Buffy's speech to the council is spot on. Love Tara's little look of panic as she invents a magical proficiency level for her and Willow.

The Bad; Surely Buffy's point that the Watcher's depend on her rather than vice versa is self evident all along?

Best line; Travers; "Glory's not a demon" Buffy; "What is she?" Travers; "She's a god" Oh boy!

Women good/men bad; Buffy tells the Council that she has the power, changing a relationship between Watcher and Slayer that has endured millenia.

Jeez!; Glory brainsucks the postman. Even more horrible is the way she refers to him as 'that' afterwards.

Kinky dinky; The female Watcher seems to have a Spikette's lust for Spike. Spike suggests Buffy's beauty is fading and that she is not has firm and high (at 20?)

Captain Subtext; Willow and Tara finally say what they are out loud. Buffy seems to imply that Rasputin was a vamp. The lover of the one Angel killed in 'Why we fight?' Another terrific Spike/Joyce scene, they both love the Passions TV show. Buffy remarks that she 'Doesn't need a boyfriend'. Once again we see the Glory-Buffy-Dawn subtext with Glory suggesting Ben 'bang' the key's location out of Buffy. She also refers to Buffy as 'Sweetie' and thinks the pictures of her and Dawn are 'So cute'. She describes Dawn as the 'Darlingest thing', 'Honey' and says she likes her as she's 'Sassy'. Glory's minion thinks Ben 'quite attractive'. Willow refers to her and Tara's relationship with Buffy as 'Just friends'.

Apocalypses; 5,

Scoobies in bondage: Buffy: 8 Giles: 4 Cordy: 5 Will: 3 Jenny: 1 Angel: 4 Oz: 1 Faith: 3 Joyce: 1 Wes: 1 Xander; 1 Dawn; 1

Scoobies knocked out: Buffy: 16 Giles: 10 Cordy: 6 Xander: 8 Will: 5 Jenny: 2 Angel: 6 Oz: 3 Faith: 1 Joyce: 3 Wes: 1 Anya;1

Kills: Buffy: 94 vamps, 32 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot Giles: 5 vamps, 1 demon Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon Will: 6 vamps Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans Xander: 5 vamps, 2 zombies, a demon, a demon Anya: a demon Riley; 18 vamps + 7 demons Spike; 1 demon and 1 vamp in Scooby service

Scoobies go evil: Giles: 1 Cordy: 1 Will: 2 Jenny: 1 Angel: 1 Oz: 1 Joyce: 1 Xander: 3

Alternate scoobies: Buffy: 6 Giles: 3 Cordy: 1 Will: 2 Jenny: 2 Angel: 3 Oz: 2 Joyce: 2 Xander: 3

Recurring characters killed: 9 Jesse, Flutie, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Snyder, Professor Walsh, Forrest, McNamara

Sunnydale deaths; 89;

Total number of scoobies: 6 Giles, Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Tara,

Xander demon magnet: 5(6?) Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?), Dracula?

Scoobies shot: Giles: 2 Angel: 3 Oz: 4 Riley; 1

Notches on Scooby bedpost: Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny and 3xDraccy babes? Cordy: 1? Buffy: 3 confirmed; Angel, Parker,Riley, 1 possible, Dracula(?) Angel: 1;Buffy Joyce: 1;Giles, 2 possible, Ted and Dracula(?) Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley Xander: 2; Faith, Anya Willow: 2;Oz and Tara Riley; 3; Buffy, Sandy and unnamed vampwhore

Questions and observations; First appearance of the Knights of Byzantium. Couldn't they put their tattoos somewhere a little less obvious? Of course the Watcher's are right about the dangers of some of the Magic Shop contents as Triangle and later eps will prove. The stars are once again pivotal to Glory's spell. So how do we kill a god? Titan's rib? Golden Hind's blood? Xena?

So who are these Byzantium guys and what do they want other than to fight Glory? (which seems pretty admirable but bad news for Dawn). I always figured that maybe the Watcher's Council had some form of schism reformation style and they're an offshoot

Marks out of 10; 6/10
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