Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Goodbye Iowa

Episode Report Card
Goodbye Iowa

Previously on Buffy: Buffy joins the Initiative but asks too many questions, so Walsh decides to take her out; Walsh's plan to kill Buffy goes awry; Walsh's creation, Adam, shish-kebobs her.

Buffy is at Giles's, where we saw her last, explaining to Giles, Anya, Xander, and Spike how Walsh had planned to kill her. Giles is surprised that Dr. Walsh set Buffy up, and Spike, sitting on the stairs and picking at his fingernail, sighs, "Got to hand it to you Goldilocks, you do have bleeding tragic taste in men." Buffy inquires what Spike's getting at, and he asks if she really thinks Riley was "out knitting booties for [her] future offspring" while Maggie was setting her up. The gang looks concerned, and Giles says that they must consider all the possibilities. Buffy denies that Riley was involved and that Dr. Walsh had made sure that he was very far away when she sent Buffy on "this very special make-Buffy-dead assignment." Willow, ever the romantic, chimes in that Riley doesn't seem at all like the lying type, but Xander cynically says that keeping secrets is the nature of the Secret Forces. Buffy declares that since Maggie wants her dead, she can be sure that the entire Initiative wants the same thing. When Giles ponders why Dr. Walsh turned on Buffy, Buffy confesses that she asked too many questions. Anya suggests that Buffy was "getting too close to something," and Giles looks concerned as to what that "something" could be.

Elsewhere, that "something" -- in the form of Adam, Walsh's human-demon hybrid baby -- exits a bunker-like structure in the forest. He sneers and menacingly surveys his surroundings. I survey the crappy job the make-up department has done on his demon and metal prosthetics and snicker at the fact that the green latex demon skin on his neck is obviously peeling. Dear Joss Whedon, Please come back from Angel. You won't believe what sort of mediocrity your writers are getting up to in your absence. Oh, also, your make-up people apparently need a larger budget for spirit gum. Thanks, Ace.

Chez Giles, Buffy is handing out weapons and telling the gang to hurry. Xander excitedly asks if they are going to attack the Initiative, but when Buffy says she wants them to hide, he's obviously relieved. Giles suggests that they discuss the situation further, and Buffy says they will, once they've moved to someplace safer. Willow suggests "my place," by which I guess she meant her parents' house and not her dorm room, but Buffy says the commandos know how close she and Willow are and will look for them there. Buffy suggests Xander's basement because the Initiative haven't seen her and Xander together too much (except for the gathering at the Bronze last week, of course), and Willow agrees, "Ooh, plus, mirror ball!" Xander invites them all to "boogie at Xander's hideaway" and Anya completely insincerely repeats the invitation. Giles huffs, "Absolutely not. I will not squat in that dank hole," because I guess he prefers squatting in the dank hole of his own apartment with its charming bile-green walls. Spike, rather silent up to this point, asks whether Xander's was good enough for him but Giles is "above it all" and Giles replies, "Precisely." He sits and smugly says he doesn't understand why they can't just stay at his place and that he doubts the Initiative will come to look -- and at that moment, Riley bursts in, calling "Buffy!" Apparently Giles still has not learned to lock his door, or that knocking is very rare on the Hellmouth. Riley wants to know what happened to Buffy; she gingerly explains that Dr. Walsh tried to have her killed. Riley, who is rather agitated, feels there must have been a mistake and doesn't want to jump to any conclusions. He turns and notices Spike sitting on the stairs; Spike drums his fingers and tries to look nonchalant. Riley takes a few steps back and declares, "That's Hostile-17!" and Spike replies, in his Midwestern accent, "No, I'm just a friend of Xaaanderrr's." Then, realizing the game is up, he snaps, "Bugger it. I'm your guy." Buffy gently introduces Spike and tries to explain to Riley that Spike's presence is a long story but basically "he's not bad anymore." Spike is irritated by this and insists he is indeed still bad, but Riley turns accusingly to Buffy and says she knew he was looking for Hostile-17 and she never said anything. Riley wants to know why Spike is there, and Spike decides to leave, saying he has his "stories on the telly" if he wants dramatics. He covers himself with his jacket and as he leaves says, "By the by, if you're trying to kill her," and gives Riley a big thumbs-up and approving grin. Buffy and Willow roll their eyes. Riley again demands to know why Buffy was hiding an HST but Xander jumps to Buffy's defense by reminding Riley that Walsh just tried to kill Buffy. Riley says he doesn't know much, but that this behavior isn't like Professor Walsh. He speculates that perhaps something is controlling her behavior, and Giles tells him that the gang thinks Buffy was getting too close to secrets of the Initiative. Riley is having a very difficult time accepting the evilness of his mentor and excitedly suggests that Walsh had just sent Buffy on "a drill." Buffy quietly corrects this misconception. Giles muses that he's heard the Initiative is not all it seems and that it's actually working towards "some darker purpose." Riley stubbornly declares, "No! That's not what happens there." Buffy tries to reassure him that they will figure things out, but Riley storms out, saying he'll figure things out by himself.

Out in the woods, a little boy is playing with an action figure of a muscular masked man. Walsh's Little Baby approaches the little boy, who looks at him with surprise and then smiles. At this point, I'm cheering out loud at the genius of Sep, who in her last recap called Adam something "off of the clearance table at Toys R Us." I can't believe we are now seeing a scene that makes the exact same parallel. Yay, Sep! Adam asks the little boy, "What am I?" and I groan and prepare myself for a rip-off of, oh excuse me, homage to the scene in Frankenstein when Frankenstein's monster talks to the sweet little girl. Never before have I seen Buffy do such a ham-handed interpretation of other source material. The boy replies that Adam is a monster, which doesn't surprise Momma's Boy; he then asks the boy, "How do you work?" The little boy doesn't know how he works and sweetly asks Adam what the bone skewers on his arms are for. Adam grins evilly and stares down at the boy. Okay, this isn't even anywhere approaching an effective rendition of that scene from Frankenstein. I watched that movie once when I was home alone and very young and it scared the crap out of me, but I'll always remember how poignant that scene was when the monster comes across the little girl who is playing with flowers and floating them on the lake, and she explains to him something about how she floats them because they're pretty, so he decides she's pretty too and decides to float her in the lake too, and of course she drowns, but the monster just doesn't understand, and it's tragic and sad. Instead, Adam is just evil and violent, which means the Buffy writers have missed all the subtle elements that make Frankenstein such a classic tale. Let's take a moment to consider the fact that they've killed off Walsh, who was somewhat interesting because, although she was evil, she was human and seemed to think she was doing the right thing, and have instead left us with this grinning thug who is just evil and boring. Didn't they learn anything from creating Spike, the Mayor, Faith, or any of the other nuanced baddies they've provided on this show?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer




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