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The I IN TEAM (ep #4.13)

(a.k.a. Deadly Questions)

Written by: David Fury
Directed by: James A. Contner
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
George Hertzberg as Adam
Leonard Roberts as Forrest Gates
Bailey Chase as Graham Miller
Jack Stehlin as Dr. Angleman
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Lindsay Crouse as Maggie Walsh
Co-Starring: Neil Daly as Mason

Plot Summary

Buffy joined the Initiative, but she was sent on a suicide mission when she asked too many questions and became a bad influence on Riley.

Plot Details

Willow, Anya, and Xander were playing poker. Xander had to remind Willow that using magic was cheating. Anya proved herself either to have a lousy poker face or to be a great bluffer. Xander was excited about his new job selling tasteless but allegedly healthy food bars.

The conversation went to Buffy spending time with a "spanking new boyfriend" (as opposed to the nonspanking kind). Willow seemed to think that he was OK. Anya was worried about the Initiative's stand on ex-demons. Xander trusted Riley, but he was not sure about the Initiative.

Meanwhile, several commandos were chasing Buffy through woods. When they caught up to her, she took out three of them before Prof. Walsh called a halt to the exercise. She was very impressed with Buffy and less so with the others.

The next day, Buffy gushed to Willow over the way Prof. Walsh gushed over Buffy's performance the previous night. Willow worried that Buffy forgot about their planned Bronze outing. The conversation ended with Willow probably thinking that her next spell with Tara would involve spanking.

Giles stopped by Spike's crypt to pay his debt from "A New Man." They traded insults before Giles suggested that Spike might join the fight against evil. Spike was not interested in having anything to do with the other characters.

In what looked like a scene in which Buffy would do something she had only done in "Surprise" and "The Harsh Light of Day," Buffy instead entered the Initiative complex. The double entendres continued when Buffy admired the "size" of the operation. She noted Dr. Angleman working on two very tough demons.

Meanwhile, Tara showed Willow her grandmother's dolls eye crystal. She wanted to give it to Willow as a gift, but Willow thought that it was too much. Willow did express an interest in doing a spell with Tara, but did not want her to go to the Bronze that night.

At the Bronze, Xander was busy trying to sell his bars. Buffy arrived an hour late along with Riley, Forrest, Graham, and two other Initiative soldiers. Anya saw them and dragged herself and Xander away. Willow was a bit miffed about Buffy bringing Initiative commandos and mentioned that she would have invited someone else if it were to be a large group outing. She clammed up when Buffy asked who that someone was. Willow changed the subject to express her concerns about the Initiative's agenda. A page called Buffy and the commandos away.

Apparently, they were to capture a polgara demon. It had a bone skewer in its forearm that the Initiative wanted undamaged. Buffy upset the usual procedure by asking a few too many questions. Prof. Walsh interrupted and had Riley organize teams to find it.

With the Bronze outing a bust, Willow decided that she wanted to visit Tara anyway. Tara was very happy to have the opportunity to do a "spell" or something with Willow.

Even though he got to lead his own team, Forrest was very jealous that Buffy got to be #2 on Riley's team. Graham did not think that Forrest should worry. A Hostile 17 (Spike) sighting interrupted their debate. They tried to capture Spike in a net but failed. Graham did manage to hit Spike with a tracer.

Graham called Riley for instructions, but the polgara demon interrupted Riley. We then saw Buffy and Riley take on the polgara in a montage of scenes of Riley and Buffy having sex. Prof. Walsh observed the latter action.

Xander sold one of his bars to Giles, which greatly damaged their relationship. Trying to avoid the Initiative, Spike burst in. Giles was not inclined to help until Spike returned what was left of the $300 that Giles paid him.

For the first time, Buffy woke up in a morning after with the guy still in bed with her. She was quite amused that he had an alarm to remind him to take vitamins. She asked about 314 and was immediately interrupted by a phone call from Prof. Walsh.

At the Initiative, Prof. Walsh saw Riley looking through a door at room 314. She wanted him to go to Forrest's team to continue chasing Spike. She then told Dr. Angleman that she believed that Buffy was a threat. They decided to go to a contingency scenario while Dr. Angleman removed the polgara's left arm.

Buffy returned to her dorm to find two beds that were not slept in. Willow returned a bit later. Buffy just managed to apologize for leaving her at the Bronze when Buffy was again paged away. Immediately afterward, Giles called for Willow.

Prof. Walsh sent Buffy after a possible demon in the sewers, going out of her way to convince Buffy that the mission was not to be dangerous in the least. When she arrived, she saw two demons that Riley earlier described as tough. Both were armed with battleaxes. Buffy's taser gun malfunctioned, and a gate closed behind her, trapping her with the demons.

Willow was supposed to cast a spell to ionize the air to disrupt the tracer's signal. It not only worked, but it blew out some light bulbs and gave everyone a funny hairstyle. Giles eventually managed to pull out the tracer just as the air cleared up. Xander flushed it down the sewer before Riley et al. could find it.

After a bit of fighting, Buffy's monitor read no pulse. Prof. Walsh assumed that Buffy was lost. Buffy, however continued fighting and eventually defeated both demons. Through her monitor, Buffy heard Prof. Walsh tell Riley that Buffy died. Buffy turned the camera on herself so Riley could see her alive. She then made it very clear that slayers do not like being sent to certain death, particularly when said death was not nearly as certain as first believed. She then destroyed $20,000 worth of equipment purchased at taxpayer expense. Riley stormed off.

Giles tried to convince Spike to leave town for his own safety. Buffy returned to say that nobody else was safe either. Prof. Walsh then went to room 314 to talk to her Frankenstein monster, Adam, who promptly skewered her with the arm that used to belong to the polgara demon.

The Good

After a couple of filler episodes, we finally get back to the season arc.

The Bad

For such an important episode, this felt a little bland.

Overall Rank: 91

Action: 5

Buffy took out three commandos before Prof. Walsh called a halt.

Buffy and Riley fought the polgara demon intercut with scenes of "action" of a different variety.

Buffy fought two demons in the sewers.

Comedy: 3

Anya was amusing at the poker game.

Willow's spell gave everyone a new hairstyle.

Drama: 4

Riley was told that Buffy was dead.

Buffy had to deal with the Initiative wanting her dead.

Romance: 4

Buffy and Riley make the beast with two backs.

Character Development: 6

Tara was willing to give a valuable family heirloom to someone she met only three episodes ago. She either wants to ingratiate herself with Willow, is massively in love, or is lying about what it really was. She did not mind being Willow's second choice as a person to spend the night with and appeared grateful to be on the list.

Willow appears to be treading the line between being protective of Tara and being paternalistic. She did spend the night with her again and was talked into taking the dolls eye crystal.

Prof. Walsh was not much of a joke teller. She was a fierce guardian of the Initiative's secrets and was willing to kill Buffy to protect the secrets. She had a voyeuristic tendency. She was also skewered by her own creation.

Spike initially wanted nothing more to do with the rest of the characters but quickly changed his mind when he was in trouble.

Buffy is starting to revert back to taking Willow and her other friends for granted.

Forrest has become jealous of Buffy.

Importance: 8

Buffy has learned more about the Initiative.

Both Buffy and Riley know that Prof. Walsh wanted to kill her. This may lead both to want nothing to do with the Initiative.

Professor Walsh created a Frankenstein monster in room 314. Its first action was to kill her.

Most Valuable Player: Buffy

There was not much success in this episode. Buffy successfully killed the two sewer demons despite a malfunctioning weapon. Giles successfully removed the tracer. Willow successfully ionized the air to keep Riley's team away. Buffy gets an easy MVP.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Xander

There was not that much figured out in this episode. Xander gets the award for figuring out that the blinking thing was a tracer.

Goat of the Week: Prof. Walsh

Prof. Walsh gets the Goat for thinking that two demons would be a match for even an unarmed slayer and for creating a Frankenstein monster that, in its first act, decided to skewer her. The worst part, at least for Walsh, was that she could have avoided the Goat if she were just a little more truthful. Buffy is the slayer. She would have gone after two escaped demons even if she thought that they were tough. A malfunctioning gun could be passed off as inexperience or government inefficiency. Telling Riley the same story that she told Buffy would make everything look like a misunderstanding. None of this would have saved her life from Adam, but it might have saved her the ignominy of also getting the Goat.


Prof. Walsh reminded me a bit of one of my advisors when I was in graduate school. Walsh gave a first impression of being a very harsh and demanding person. However, she appreciated people like Buffy who had the courage to stand up to her. She also had genuine affection for the people under her, particularly Riley.

There were many incongruities with her relationship with the Initiative that I will discuss in the Season 4 Summary. Instead, I will talk about incongruities as a psychologist. In "The Freshman," she was described as someone who specialized in operant conditioning, which would make her a behaviorist. This makes sense given that her role in the Initiative was to modify demonic behavior. However, the behaviorist perspective rejects many of the things that she lectured about during class sessions. A lot of the psychology seemed to be written by people who took Introduction to Psychology 15 years ago and have a very hazy memory.

Professor Walsh leaves the show with zero MVPs, zero Sherlock Holmeses and one Goat.

Memorable Dialogue

"I implore you, Neisa, blessed goddess of chance and fortune, heed my call. Send to me the heart I desire." Willow
"You know, magic at the poker table qualifies as cheating." Xander

"You know how it is with a spanking new boyfriend." Willow
"Yes, we've enjoyed spanking." Anya

"Tell me about your night." Buffy
"Well, spent most of it at Xander's teaching Anya to play poker." Willow
"That sounds like fun." Buffy
"Yeah, except the Anya part and the poker part." Willow
"Will, I think you better get used to... [Sees Riley grab a Twinkie] a Twinkie? That's his lunch? Oh, he is so gonna be punished." Buffy
"Everyone's getting spanked but me." Willow

"Yes, careless of me, tracking mud all over your mud." Giles

"I don't want you crawling back here, knocking on my door pleading for help the second teen witch's magic goes all wonky or little Xander cuts a new tooth." Spike

"That's classified material, highly sensitive. When you're through reading those pages, you'll have to eat them." Prof. Walsh
"She's joking." Riley
"Don't worry, doesn't happen very often." Prof. Walsh

"Let me put it in a way you'll understand. Sell bars. Make money. Take Anya nice places. Buy pretty things." Xander
"That does make sense. All right, I support you. Go sell more." Anya

"Just explain to the nice scientist guys that you really miss killing and torturing innocent people." Xander
"You think that would work?" Spike

Characters in Peril


Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on November 23, 2012