Home page All episodes sorted by rank All episodes sorted alphabetically All episodes sorted by writer All episodes sorted by director All episodes sorted by season Episodes with the most polarized opinions Episodes largely forgotten by fans Best and worst streaks of episodes An analysis of what makes episodes great Buffy writers sorted by the quality of their episodes Buffy directors sorted by the quality of their episodes Seasons of Buffy sorted by the quality of their episodes Buffy characters sorted by their possible contribution to episode quality Predicted episode quality based on writer, director, characters, and when aired Episodes that are much better or much worse than predicted Tastes in episodes Episodes ranked by taste Seasons ranked by taste Characters ranked by taste Writers ranked by taste Directors ranked by taste How the results on this site were obtained Ranking important contributors Reviews and Essays Frequently Asked Questions The links page Go to the sitemap

GOODBYE IOWA (ep #4.14)


Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: David Solomon
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
JB Gaynor as Boy
Saverio Guerra as Willy
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Co-Starring: Amy Powell as Reporter
Andy Marshall as Scientist #1
Paul Leighton as Rough-Looking Demon
Karen Charnell as Shady Lady

Plot Summary

The Initiative dealt with Prof. Walsh's death and a new villain that they created.

Plot Details

The episode opened with Buffy telling Giles, Xander, Willow, Anya, and Spike about being set up. Spike suspected that Riley was involved as well, but the others disagreed. Xander did point out that the Initiative cannot be happy with how much they all knew, which meant that they were all in danger. There was a discussion on where to go. Willow offered her place, but the Initiative knew that she and Buffy were close. Buffy suggested Xander's basement, but Giles did not want to go down there. Giles wanted to stay put in his apartment because it was unlikely that the Initiative would look for him there, but Riley barged in.

Adam went wandering around trying to figure things out. He came across a boy playing in the woods. Adam did not know much about his purpose in life, but he did seem to know that he was a Frankenstein monster, and Frankenstein monsters kill kids out of confusion.

That night, Dr. Angleman went to check on Adam. He found Adam missing and Prof. Walsh dead. He fled in a panic.

Xander's basement won the contest on where the characters were going to stay. Everyone woke up in a cranky mood. A news report talked about a boy being skewered. Most of them came to the conclusion that Prof. Walsh sent the polgara demon after Buffy. Buffy vowed to go kill it.

Forrest congratulated Riley on scoring with Buffy, but Riley said that he was not with her. He pulled Forrest aside and told him what he knew. Forrest was open to the possibility that Buffy needed to die, which upset Riley. Graham interrupted to say that Walsh was dead.

Riley and Forrest went to the scene. Forrest concluded that Buffy did it. Dr. Angleman intervened and suggested that the polgara did it, but they were not to do anything until a team from Washington D.C. arrived. Riley was not inclined to listen and organized a team to hunt the polgara.

Forrest and Graham raided Spike's crypt. They saw signs of occupation, including a warm television, but no sign of the occupant, only because Spike was hiding under a skeleton.

Riley caught up with Buffy. Buffy tried to apologize and explain why she was with Hostile 17 (a.k.a. Spike), but Riley did not seem to notice. He told her that Prof. Walsh died and wondered if Buffy was happy. She was not.

Willow went to visit Tara. Willow talked about the great "spells" they had the other night. Tara agreed that the "spells" were great as well. Despite Willow's insistence that she was not in it only for the "spells," but she wanted do have another "spell." Tara was eager for more "spells" until Willow mentioned the Goddess Thespia.

Buffy paid a visit to Willy. He has decided that he no longer wanted to play both sides. If Buffy wanted information, she would have to pretend to hit him. He said that all he knew about the polgara was that the Initiative captured it. Riley burst in and angrily confronted both Buffy and Willy. He even pointed a gun at a patron before realizing that something was happening to him.

Buffy decided to go undercover to the Intiative headquarters with Xander. Anya did not like the plan because she wanted Xander somewhere safer, but Xander agreed to go along anyway.

Willow explained the spell to a nervous Tara. It involves creating a mist on a map that indicates where different breeds of demons are. Tara agreed to do it, but dumped the magic sand under the bed when Willow was not looking. The spell was a bust.

Buffy and Xander entered the Initiative headquarters unimpeded. Xander was a little worried when two people walked by. He wanted to make out with Buffy and was disappointed when she suggested that making out would not be a particularly covert thing to do.

Giles and Anya was concerned that a polgara was not a low-profile demon. Therefore it was very unlikely that it could remain undetected for very long. Instead, it was likely that something else killed the boy. Riley got up and found out that Buffy went into the Initiative looking for what was wrong with him. He stormed out.

Buffy and Xander overheard a convenient conversation in which Dr. Angleman told another scientist that the Initiative soldiers had been getting drugs in their food (as opposed to breathing in drugs while in a steam room) and were experiencing withdrawal.

Buffy confronted Dr. Angleman. He was a little cocky until Riley arrived saying that he disabled the monitors. Angleman admitted that Walsh wanted Buffy dead but denied that anyone else in the Initiative wanted her dead. Angleman started to talk about 314 when Riley interrupted and confronted Buffy. Eventually, Adam showed up to answer some questions.

Adam admitted killing the boy. It did not help him to learn about himself, so he decided to raid the Initiative for floppy disks to load into his chest. He was created from parts of demons, humans, and machines. Riley was also a creation of Dr. Walsh's to some extent, more than Riley wanted to admit.

Riley decided that he would rather fight than hear more. Adam was more than up to the challenge. He killed Dr. Angleman and badly injured Riley. Forrest, Graham, and a few other Initiative soldiers entered the room just as Adam disappeared up a ventilation shaft.

The Good

Riley's moral dilemma has dramatic possibilities.

The Bad

The Frankenstein monster and the mad scientist creating a super-soldier has been done to death already. This show is usually more original.

Overall Rank: 93

Action: 4

Adam fought Buffy, Xander, Riley, and the rest of the Initiative.

Comedy: 2

Spike expressed approval of the Initiative trying to kill Buffy.

Drama: 7

Buffy and her friends were worried about being hunted by the Initiative.

Riley and his Initiative comrades dealt with Prof. Walsh's death.

Riley wondered if he was fighting for the wrong side.

Romance: 3

The subtext of the conversation between Willow and Tara about the great "spells" that they have been having barely merited a "sub" in the "text."

Character Development: 7

Anya has grown protective of Xander and does not like him to be in danger.

Forrest has no problem with Riley scoring with Buffy, but neither does he have a problem with Prof. Walsh trying to have her killed.

Tara sabotaged a spell. It is not clear if she thought the spell was too much for her and Willow or if she was worried that the spell would detect a demon she wanted to go undetected. Otherwise, she has been enjoying the great "spells" she has been having with Willow and does not seem to mind being used for "spells."

Willow also enjoys the "spells" that she has been having with Tara, but sees her as more than just someone to have "spells" with.

Riley has apparently been going through withdrawal from medication placed in his food. He does not want to admit that Prof. Walsh was up to no good, but he also does not like the idea that Buffy might have killed her.

Importance: 8

The Initiative is in chaos after Prof. Walsh's death.

Riley is on withdrawal from medications placed in his food and was seriously wounded by Adam.

There is a new villain for Buffy to worry about.

Most Valuable Player: Adam

Adam managed to increase his death toll by three and has gained the information that he had been seeking.

Sherlockl Holmes Award: Buffy

Giles and Anya figured out that it was probably not a polgara demon that killed the boy, but Buffy gets the award for coming up with the plan to infiltrate the Initiative and for getting information from Dr. Angleman.

Goat of the Week: Dr. Angleman

Dr. Angleman withheld vital information that may have been useful in defeating Adam and failed to keep Initiative secrets from Buffy. He misled Riley by making him think that a polgara demon killed Prof. Walsh, which caused them to look for the wrong suspect. Finally, the monster he helped create who killed Prof. Walsh also killed him.

Random Commentary

Once again, this episode makes the United States look backward when it comes to technology. Despite what Adam's construction might indicate, floppy disks were rapidly becoming obsolete by the time of this episode. It was far more likely that Adam would have a CD-ROM drive or a zip drive.

Imponderables

I understand from a couple of sources that the "yummy sushi" pajamas that Buffy wore were real and cost $80. Who in the world would pay $80 for a pair of pajamas?

Memorable Dialogue

"You really should get yourself a boring boyfriend, like Xander. You can't have Xander." Anya

"You guys research the polgara demon. I wanna know where it is. When I find it, I'm going to make him pay for taking that kid's life. I'll make him die in way he can't even imagine. That probably would have sounded more commanding if I wasn't wearing my yummy sushi pajamas." Buffy

"Hey, remember before, no Xander, not in a boyfriend way or a lead him to certain death way." Anya
"He's the only one with military experience." Buffy
"It's not like he was in the Nam. He was G.I. Joe for one night." Anya

"I totally get it now. Can I have sex with Riley too?" Xander

"This is the Initiative, Xander. Military guys and scientists do not make out with each other." Buffy

"Now I generally don't like to kill humans, but I've learned that it pays to be flexible in life." Buffy

"It was like Maggie designed him to be the ultimate warrior. He's smart and fast. He gave the commando guys the slip with no problem." Buffy
"There's got to be a flaw." Willow
"I think the part where he's pure evil and kills randomly was an oversight." Buffy

Characters in Peril

Kills

Evil Escaped

Departed Characters Remembered

Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Unusual Pairings

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