Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) learns that her mother is suffering from brain cancer and feels helpless to do anything about it. Anya (Emma Caulfield) and Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) counsel her and Willow (Alyson Hannigan) that a healing spell might make things worse because the magical and the medical aren't supposed to mix. Riley (Marc Blucas) comforts Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) and tries to do the same for Buffy, but she pushes him away. She's too busy seeking out the giant snake-demon that Glory (Clare Kramer) has dispatched to find the mystical Key that, unbeknownst to the vivacious demon, has actually been incarnated into human form as Dawn. Buffy is furious to discover that Glory procured the materials for her enchantment from Giles and Anya's shop -- walked right in and out under their noses. Nonetheless, after receiving another butt-kicking from Glory, the Slayer tracks down the she-demon's minion and savagely mutilates it, thereby saving Dawn and venting some of her own feelings of powerlessness. Back at the hospital, she affects steely determination, once again shutting Riley out. Of course, she has no clue that he's been getting his kicks by letting a vampire tart suck his neck and then staking her. Originally broadcast November 21, 2000, on the WB network, "Shadow" marked episode 86 of the cult-favorite series.