Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
A mystery emerges when Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) randomly comes into possession of a shiny, mystical orb. Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) is too busy with the grand opening of his magic shop to research Buffy's discovery. Dismayed by his lack of customers, Giles reluctantly agrees to hire avaricious Anya (Emma Caulfield) as his shopkeeper. At home, Buffy and Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) both grow concerned as Joyce (Kristine Sutherland) continues to suffer from migraines. With help from sorceress Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Buffy tries to discover whether there's dark magic afoot. She finds no clues about her mother's condition, but she does discover that Dawn is continually fading in and out of reality. Buffy realizes that Dawn isn't her sister and fears that the girl may be there to harm Joyce -- a suspicion that seems to gain credence from Giles' revelation that the orb Buffy found is a talisman meant to protect its bearer from a specific and unspeakable evil. Buffy heads back to the spot where she discovered the sphere and finds a grievously wounded monk under attack from a gorgeous blonde who comes off like the world's most self-obsessed -- and supernaturally powerful -- bimbo. Buffy narrowly escapes getting her clock cleaned and learns from the dying monk that Dawn is actually "The Key," an ancient source of energy capable of unlocking something called "The Door" with disastrous results. To prevent the super-bimbo -- an ancient and malevolent entity known as Glory -- from finding and using The Key, the monks incarnated it in human form and wove it into the fabric of Buffy's life so the Slayer could protect it. Back at home, Buffy comes to terms with the fact that Dawn is human now -- and her responsibility. Meanwhile, Spike (James Marsters) deals with his newfound feelings for Buffy. Originally broadcast October 24, 2000, on the WB network, "No Place Like Home" marked episode 83 of the cult-favorite series.